THE new leader of Huddersfield's plumbers has moved to reassure householders worried about `cowboy' operators.

Richard Schofield was installed as president of the Huddersfield and District Master Plumbers' Association at its annual meeting.

He succeeds Andrew Crookes, of Highburton, as leader of an organisation dating back 100 years.

Mr Schofield, who runs S Maude and Co, of Sheepridge, told the meeting at Durker Roods Hotel, Meltham, that at a time when TV shows highlighted the shoddy work and high charges levied by some workmen, Huddersfield was "very well and honestly served" by members of the association.

He said incidents of dishonest practice seemed to happen mainly in larger cities, usually when a householder did not know of a recommended professional company or recognised local plumber.

Mr Schofield said association members met monthly to discuss industry issues and find out about new products, from bathroom taps to boilers.

They were also affiliated to the National Association of Plumbers and Heating Contractors, with established procedures for dealing with customers' complaints.

The Huddersfield association has set up a website - the address is - to help customers.

Mr Schofield said local firms would also be encouraged to take part in the Government's new Trust Mark scheme to raise standards among tradespeople.

He added: "In Huddersfield, we have one of the strongest memberships in the UK.

"We get together every month and discuss any new problems that any of our members may come across.

"The comradeship in the trade is terrific and everyone is always ready to help one another.

"I think Huddersfield people will be pleased that our tradesmen give them honest and good practice."

Mr Schofield will be president for two years.