Prescot man charged with fraud after almost 100 residents receive 'forged' cladding-safety forms

Flats covered in cladding, like the above, need a certificate to prove to lenders that they are safe. Credit: PA images

A man has been charged after almost 100 residents in high-rise flats received 'forged' cladding safety forms certifying their building was not a potential fire risk.

Thomas Michael Clarke, 33, is charged with fraud by false representation after police spent a 19-months investigating.

External Wall Fire review forms (EWS1 forms) were introduced following the Grenfell fire disaster, to prove to lenders that cladding on residential buildings is safe.

The forms require an appropriate professional to confirm the checks have been completed.

Without a signed EWS1 form, home-owners cannot sell as their properties are valued at ‘zero.’

In November 2020, residents of high-rise buildings in south Wales and London reported that 88 forms had been signed off by a person who was not authorised to sign them.

The reports, covering the period between 23 June and 12 November 2020, were referred to Merseyside Police by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

Police say the correct checks have since been completed in each case and they have received the appropriate authorisation.

Thomas Michael Clarke, of Knowsley Lane, Prescot, is due to appear at Liverpool Magistrates Court on 3 August 2022.

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