Michael and Helen Boddy were introduced to cowboy builder Tony Toth by their friends, Tony and Amanda Dagless, who live with their children, Kieran, 16, Danielle, 15, and Lauren, 11, in Moor Lane, Sculthorpe.
Toth is one of their neighbours and Mr Dagless, 46, said: “We were friends with him. I used to run him to the airport on his holidays and cut his grass for him while he was away.”
Toth did work including a rear extension for the couple and they recommended him in good faith to others, something they say they now bitterly regret. Mr Dagless, a self-employed window cleaner, said he even gave Toth’s details to customers.
Subsequent complaints to him about work he had done were rebuffed.
Mr Dagless said: “He seems to think he can just bluff his way through.”
He claims the most serious problems were electrical.
Mrs Dagless said: “We found electrical faults which we have had to have redone. We have now got a report from an electrical company which found 11 faults in his work, two of them were dangerous and a fire risk.”
Mr Dagless said: “Our friendship blurred our vision.” Toth and his family had even spent the whole of Christmas Day, 2011, at the home of the Dagless family.
The couple estimate they have spent £3,000 already repairing faults and Mrs Dagless said: “Who knows what else we will come across?”
Mr Dagless said: “I trusted him because he was my mate. I am more let down after what he has done to us because we were friends. I didn’t think I would get taken in by a cowboy builder but I was.”
Ironically, he recalled talking to Toth about the Cowboy Builders series on television and said: “He told me he couldn’t watch it because it wound him up too much.”
Mrs Dagless said: “His mantra was always ‘I don’t have problems, I have solutions’.”