A heating engineer from Penrith has been handed a suspended prison sentence for a £46,000 fraud.
Peter Wilson’s dishonest deeds were committed between 2014 and 2018 as the 35-year-old took on contracts in the Kirkby Stephen, Appleby and Anthorn areas, and received large advance payments.
Three customers sought renewable energy systems which, when properly installed and certified, would allow them to claim government incentivised rebates.
This required the specialised work to be signed off by an accredited tradesman.
But while Wilson had gained Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) membership, this lapsed — for non-renewal — in March 2017, and meant he was no longer accredited.
He failed to disclose that fact to the three customers.
In the case of his Kirkby Stephen client, Wilson was asked to install a £5,000 A16 Dimplex heat pump but instead fitted an 8KW ex-demonstrator model worth only several hundred pound which was beset with breakdowns.
That customer described the ordeal removing “shine and joy” from his new family home.
He added: “Mr Wilson’s actions cost me and my family enormously. I trusted him to be a genuine, reputable heating engineer.
“However, he continuously lied to me and gave me false promises.”
The Anthorn man spoke of his stress while the fed-up Appleby customer lodged civil proceedings, obtaining a county court judgement of just over £9,200.
Wilson, of Greystoke Road, Penrith, admitted four charges of fraud by false representation, his crime amounting to £46,349.
A detective also probed his finances.
“She found some fairly significant sums being spent on gambling websites, particularly at the times when Mr Wilson had been put in funds by customers,” said Mr Rogerson, who added of Wilson’s police interview:
“He accepted taking on too much work and adopting a burying his head in the sand-type attitude.”
Mark Shepherd, defending, conceded the defendant found himself in financially straitened circumstances amid unpaid bills by others and a pernicious gambling addiction.
“He went about trying to resolve his issues in completely the wrong way,” said Mr Shepherd, who added: “He has himself to blame and he recognises that.”
Recorder Kate Bex QC said it was significant Wilson had repaid all the money.
She heard he hadn’t gambled for two years.
Pointing to strong personal mitigation and the likely adverse impact of custody on others, Recorder Bex suspended an 18-week prison sentence for a year and Wilson must also complete a rehabilitation requirement.