SCULTHORPE: Cowboy builder’s trail of disaster
Michael and Helen Boddy, of Lancaster Avenue, Fakenham, employed Toth last year to create a kitchen and utility area in their home, where they live with their teenage daughters, Laura and Hannah.
They met him through friends, came to know him socially and saw work that he had done. Mrs Boddy, 41, said: “He seemed very nice, very genuine.”
He quoted £7,200 for all the work including plumbing, electrics and plastering. The couple borrowed the money and he asked for cash. He also asked the couple to get the materials and Mr Boddy, 51, said they later found out he did not have a trade account.
The job seemed to go well and was completed only slightly late but Mrs Boddy said: “Within a week or two, the wooden laminate on the kitchen floor started to bow.” Toth’s explanation sounded unlikely and, after taking advice, they discovered that no expansion gap had been left at the edge.
That proved to be the first of a long list of problems and the start of months of anxiety and expense for the couple. They continued to make worrying discoveries and Mrs Boddy said: “On the outside, everything looked OK but the electrics were a fire hazard.”
They eventually found out Toth was not properly registered to do the electrical work he had carried out and also that he had no public liability insurance.
Promised repairs were not carried out and in despair they went to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and contacted North Norfolk District Council.
The couple had to remortgage again to pay the £5,000 needed to put all the problems right. Mrs Boddy thanked the genuine local tradesman who carried out the work and North Norfolk Council building inspector Gary Cass for his support.
She added: “We thought we were a good judge of people. Our instinct was that he was believable but we were wrong. It’s been a really hellish time and has affected family time with the girls. It is all we have talked about for a year.”
Mr Boddy said: “It has just been a nightmare.”
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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