A ROGUE trader conned two women out of thousands by purporting to be a licensed gasman – but instead left them with broken boilers and big bills.

Cowboy Adam Kilbride told clients that he was registered to operate under the nationwide Gas Safe scheme, however he last legitimately worked under that scheme around 13 years ago, and had never been licensed to operate as a sole trader.

The 45-year-old, from Burnley, charged two women in the town thousands to fit them with new boilers, but both were left out of pocket when they were forced to fork out thanks to Kilbride’s illegal workmanship.

On Monday he was made the subject of a community order by the Honorary Recorder of Preston, his Honour Judge Robert Altham, who slammed the ‘dangerously shoddy work’ Kilbride had been carrying out.

Preston Crown Court heard how Kilbride had demanded cash from customers and gave out false receipts bearing the official Gas Safe logo.

Kilbride of Grassington Road, Burnley, who runs a restaurant-bar in the town, pleaded guilty to an offence of masquerading as a registered Gas Safe engineer and two offences of doing work which contravened Health and Safety laws at an earlier hearing.

The court heard that Kilbride’s name was given to a woman when she moved into a house on Bamburgh Drive, Burnley, which needed a new central heating boiler.

She then gave him £2150 as a down payment for the work – however instalment of the boiler was never fully finished and the woman was left with no other choice other than to contact Gas Safe, where it was established Kilbride was operating illegally.

Kilbride refused to take her calls demanding he return and to add insult to injury would not return her house keys which forced her to change the locks.

Judge Altham said: “I note that she had provided him with a set of house keys – she asked him for them back and he never provided them. She was a person living on her own and understandably felt unsafe that a man such as this should have access to her house and so she had the locks changed.

“This does not form a part of this offence but is an indication of the very cavalier manner in which the defendant conducted himself,” Judge Altham said.

Later investigation found that there where nine defects with the boiler, which had to be replaced at the cost of the victim.

Later, a woman who was renovating a house on Ford Street, Burnley, had Kilbride recommended and he submitted a quote for gas work again and asked for £1,000 in cash for which he issued a receipt with the Gas Safe logo.

The in August of 2019 the HSE sent Kilbride a prohibition order forbidding him from working on gas fittings and piping stating the father-of-one was a danger to the public.

Defending, Bob Elias said that Kilbride no longer being able to work in the industry had come as a ‘salutary lesson’ to him.

Mr Elias added: “He has found coming to court very stressful and I must say the punishment of facing up to his misdemeanour in a crown court was a sufficient reminder that gas work was no longer for him.”

Imposing the 15-month community order on him, with 100 hours of unpaid work, Judge Altham said: "One really does have to step back and remind themselves what this case is about. This case is about a knowingly unqualified man pretending to be qualified and carrying out dangerously shoddy work.”

Judge Altham added "Working with gas requires skill, care and integrity - sadly none of which this defendant has shown during the course of these events.

“Quite rightly given his track record he is no longer working in the gas industry - that should be a relief to all.”

Kilbride was ordered to contribute £6,000 towards the prosecution’s costs and compensation to his victims.