CITB helps crack down on rogue traders, Asbestos Boss Ltd
Following an investigation carried out by Stockport Trading Standards and the HSE, UK Manager for Asbestos Boss Ltd, Daniel Cockcroft, has been brought to justice with the help of the CITB Quality & Standards Team.
Stockport Trading Standards and the HSE were first alerted to the rogue traders back in September 2021, when the company removed the asbestos insulating board from a domestic garage, with little to no control measures in place. The investigation later revealed several similar cases, with one case deemed such poor quality that the site owners received quotes up to £64,000 to put it right.
As part of the investigation, Stockport Trading Standards contacted CITB in December 2021 to run checks against documentation Mr Cockcroft produced, claiming to hold a CITB Site Safety Plus qualification. Ian Sidney, CITB’s Fraud Manager, investigated and confirmed that Mr Cockcroft did not hold any form of CSCS card or Site Safety Plus qualification. Asbestos Boss Ltd were not only producing counterfeit documents but also using an unauthorised CITB logo on their website to reel customers into thinking they had achieved accreditation.
In Manchester Magistrates Court, Judge Begley remarked that the nature and gravity of Mr Cockcroft’s offending was plain to see and that he was central to the offences. He then stated that he considered Mr Cockcroft’s actions to be “rogue trading at its worst.” He made it clear that he considered the implications for serious health issues in the future from exposures caused by Mr Cockcroft to be an aggravating feature in the case.
CITB provided a witness statement to the case, producing evidence of the findings and details of the trademarks held by CITB. Following this, Stockport Trading Standards brought a charge of fraud by false representation contrary to section 1(2)(a) of the Fraud Act 2006 against the company and directors in relation to the falsifying of documents with the intent to deceive, as well as unauthorised use of trade and accreditation logos, designed to give an impression of competence.
Judge Begley said that the quality and weight of evidence against Asbestos Boss Ltd was overwhelming, and he found them guilty of all charges. Mr Cockcroft was sentenced to six months imprisonment for the HSE charges and a further four months for the Trading Standards offence relating to fraud and deception.
Chris Simpson, CITB Head of Quality and Standards, said: “Falsifying health and safety qualifications means that the holder has not demonstrated the professional competence and awareness of health and safety legislation that is required for them to work safely in the construction industry. We are committed to identifying and stamping out any kind of cheating or deception to ensure that members of the public are kept safe, with an industry that they can rely on.
“CITB welcomes the sentencing which sends a clear message to individuals and companies flouting health and safety regulations that we will not in any way tolerate this, and that we will work with local authorities, Trading Standards and the HSE to counter rogue traders.”
Anyone who has information can report their concerns confidentially to Trading Standards, HSE or CITB via firstname.lastname@example.org.