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Cowboy plumbers charged £5,000 to unblock toilet

A team of plumbers who charged over £5,000 to unblock a toilet have been jailed.

Two plumbers turned up at the resident’s home near Rugby, and charged a rate of £672 per hour + VAT to unblock the toilet. They returned the following day to do non-emergency work on a soil pipe at the property where an emergency rate was again charged.

The total cost for ‘unblocking’ the toilet came to £5,642, of which £2,474 was paid before Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards were alerted and intervened.

Officers received further complaints from residents in Kenilworth and teamed up with colleagues and police in Staffordshire, where they were further complaints, to carry out a full investigation.

The plumbing firm, which advertised itself as offering OAP discounts, was run by Duane Linton who would send out subcontracted plumbers from Birmingham once a call had been received.

A court heard that victims were targeted between March 2014 and January 2016, while claims in advertisements were also untrue and basic parts were not carried by the plumbers who subsequently took an inordinate amount of time to source them and charged that also at a premium rate.

Linton was company director of Plumb-Tech Plumbing and Heating Ltd, in Great Barr, Birmingham, and Plumb-Tech Plumbing and Heating 1 Ltd, of Wood Lane, Handsworth.
He pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and was jailed for two years and eight months.

Subcontractor, Otis Wray, of Birmingham, was jailed for nine months and ordered to pay £2,000 costs and compensation of £1,113. Peter Hawketts, of Kings Norton, was jailed for 16 months and Patrick Thawe, also from Birmingham, was sentenced to 20 months in jail.

The CIPHE’s mission is to protect vulnerable members of society. The plumbers involved in this story were not CIPHE members.