A cowboy plumber who spent time behind bars after his crimes were exposed on BBC‘s Watchdog has avoid jail for a second time, despite bringing further misery to homeowners.
Rick Goldthorpe, 34, was exposed on the television shows Rogue Traders section becoming notorious for botching a string of gas boiler installations across the UK in 2019.
During his scam he used a T shirt which falsely proclaimed him to be a Gas Safe registered engineer to bluff his way into victims’ properties after he answered Facebook requests from customers looking for recommendations.
One failed installations resulted in carbon monoxide fumes polluting a woman’s home within just hours of Goldthorpe – who was not registered to fit gas boilers – carrying out the work.
He was later locked up in 2020 for 16 months for a string of safety offences under the Health and Safety a Work Act after victims came forward following the programme.
Rick Goldthrope, 34, was exposed on the television shows Rogue Traders section becoming notorious for botching a string of gas boiler installations across the UK in 2019
Goldthorpe was locked up in 2020 for 16 months for a string of safety offences under the Health and Safety a Work Act after victims came forward following the programme
Now years later Goldthrope has been reported to Health and Safety investigators again, after his latest victim checked him out on Google because she was unhappy with his work.
When confronted the father-of-three blustered: ‘I just do not want any trouble – I don’t want to go to jail over the work’ but he was reported to Health and Safety investigators.
Goldthorpe, of St Helens, Merseyside was exposed on the Rogue Traders section of the TV consumer show and sparked guffaws among both viewers and expert gas fitters by showing off his builder’s bum and his ‘cheeky chappie’ persona.
Throughout his string of botched installations four years ago, one homeowner was left £7,000 in debt due to the bungled work another returned from holiday to find the smell of gas billowing around his property.
This week at Chester magistrates court, Goldthorpe who admitted three more offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act was sentenced to a total of 32 weeks in prison – but the term was suspended for 12 months after his latest work inspected and found to be ‘satisfactory.’
In August last year he was ordered to complete a community order for drug driving but failed to comply and in September this year was told to undertake 240 hours of unpaid work instead. He has completed just two hours of the order.
The HSE began investigating him again in the spring of 2022 when Jeanette Glenroyd was renovating her property in Sandbach in Cheshire and required the installation of a new gas boiler.
Years after the BBC programme first aired Goldthrope has been reported to Health and Safety investigators again, after his latest victim checked him out on Google because she was unhappy with his work
Gemma Zakrzewski, prosecuting on behalf of the HSE said: ‘She had advertised the work on a local Facebook group and was contacted by the defendant and there was an exchange of messages. She asked if he was Corgi registered and the defendant responded that he was fact registered as Gas Safe.
‘He sent Miss Glenroyd a copy of his gas training certificate and she accepted that as proof and she requested that he remove the old boiler and replace it with a new one for £600. The defendant attended the address on 29 April 2022, accompanied by another male understood to be the driver.
‘There was a leak apparent from an upstairs bedroom, not related to any work carried out by the defendant It was agreed that he would be contracted to undertake the additional work to fix the leak but she was unhappy with the work and did a Google search for the defendant’s name.
‘It soon became apparent the defendant had been convicted for various offences of carrying out regulated gas work when not registered to do so. She saw a photo of the defendant which confirmed that it was the same person who had replaced her boiler.
‘At that point she stopped the defendant from completing any further work. He messaged her about payment and she referred to his lack of paperwork. He conceded that he didn’t have the paperwork and stopped asking for money. He arranged for a friend to inspect the boiler and sign off the work. The defendant was keen to resolve the issue and keen to avoid going to jail.’
She added: ‘the defendant has a history of breaching the regulations. In November 2014 he was given a prohibition notice barring him from carrying out gas fitting work or servicing pipework but he carried out work in breach of that notice. He also was featured on BBC’s Rogue Traders which highlighted him undertaking gas related work while not registered.
‘This latest matter was a flagrant breach of the law. With the installation of gas equipment, there is a risk of death or serious injury by carbon monoxide poisoning or explosion. Several parties were potentially put at risk by this offence, but no harm was caused and there was no evidence his work was unsafe. It was cost-cutting at the expense of safety. He had the qualifications to apply for but failed to do so.’
In mitigation Goldthorpe’s lawyer Mr Patrick Heald said: ‘He was under the impression that by having an associate or acquaintance who was properly registered that he would sufficiently comply with the regulations and that he was not committing the offence that he appears before the court for today.
‘It’s been frustrating for him that he had a certification and had completed all the relevant training. If he had applied for the registration then he would almost certainly have got it and he would not be here today.
‘What is of vital importance, is that a subsequent inspection of the work showed that it had been completed to a satisfactory standard. This is the first time in a number of years that he has appeared before the courts for this sort of mischief.
‘He has now ceased working as a plumber of any flavour not just a heating engineer. He is currently working in the motor trade as a fitter in a garage.. His risk of harm has significantly decreased.
Sentencing Goldthorpe District Judge Jack McGarva ordered him to pay £1,000 towards prosecution costs and a £154 victim surcharge.
The judge told him: ‘It should be obvious to you that you are in Last Chance Saloon. Gas Safe exists to protect the public in an area where shoddy work can have particularly serious consequences including isk of death and substantial damage to property.
‘Your work was satisfactory, so the risk was relatively low but if not, the consequences could have been really serious. I have to say that there is a realistic chance of rehabilitation – but it is on the edge. You are providing support to three children, though they do not live with you and on balance, I am just about persuaded to suspend the sentence – but that is about as close as it can go.’