RESIDENTS in Villanueva de la Concepción Malaga have been warned to be on the alert for bogus gas fitters.
The City Council has asked the elderly in the area not to allow strangers into their homes after a series of complaints about individuals posing as professional gas fitters in order to gain access to properties occupied by old and vulnerable people. According to reports from the council, if the bogus gas men are refused access they threaten the homeowner with massive fines- scaring them into opening the door.
There are also reports that some people have been conned out of more than €100 to replace an out-of-date gas hose costing around €5 from a local hardware supplier that would take just minutes to fit by the average person. This malpractice is not limited of course just to the Spanish province of Malaga, there are hundreds of examples of these crimes on file, below are just two, one from Malaga and one from Barcelona.
In November 2020, a 33-year-old man, who posed as a gas technician to try to gain entry to a property, was arrested by police after he allegedly beat up an elderly man before robbing him in Malaga. The 80-year-old victim was left lying on the ground with three broken ribs and two detached teeth and had to be transferred to the hospital for treatment.
The Mossos, Spanish police in Barcelona, arrested a couple of bogus gas inspectors in October for conning some elderly people in various homes across Barcelona. The detainees were a 20-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man, who took advantage of the vulnerability of the victims to deceive them and steal money, cards and bank books and jewellery of great sentimental value to the victims.
According to police, they always acted in the same way: first, they called by phone to the home of the victims and warned that later they would be coming to check the gas. Once inside the house, the woman distracted people by doing false tests for the gas while her partner searched all the rooms looking for money, jewellery, credit cards and savings books.
Gas bottle installations in private homes are subject to a five-yearly inspection. However, Spain’s gas suppliers say that appointments must be made by the homeowner after being in receipt of a letter informing them an inspection is due. The homeowner is charged 60 euros for the checks. Gas companies’ inspectors themselves have expressed concern that fraudsters may leave gas installations in a dangerous condition.