SCULTHORPE: Cowboy builder put lives at risk, court told
A cowboy builder has been told to pay compensation to a couple whose home he left in such a state it could have killed them or their daughters.
Helen and Michael Boddy thought Anthony Toth, 49, had delivered their dream kitchen extension after paying him £7,200 in cash .
It later emerged the electrics were in a life-threateningly dangerous state, he had failed to get planning permission and the materials he used were not up to scratch.
Toth, of Moor Lane, Sculthorpe, was ordered to pay £6,235 in compensation after admitting five charges of failing to comply with building regulations at West Norfolk Magistrates Court, in Lynn, yesterday.
Cara Jordon, prosecuting for North Norfolk District Council, said: “The homeowners were at risk of injury or loss of life from poorly installed electrics.”
She said Toth provided Mr and Mrs Boddy with a quote for labour on paperwork headed Fencast Builders in January last year and completed the job in April.
Problems later began to emerge and Mr and Mrs Boddy, of Lancaster Avenue, Fakenham, who have daughters Laura, 18, and Hannah, 15, sought third party advice.
As well as being unqualified to undertake the electrical work, Toth had failed to use a damp proof or adequate floor insulation, the court heard.
When Mr and Mrs Boddy sought financial redress from Toth he admitted his public liability insurance had lapsed. The couple have since borrowed a further £5,000 to remedy the faults.
Toth, who was said to be of previously good character, told the court: “I did the work in good faith. It was naivety on my part that I didn’t inform the council. I should have researched the job better.
“I did the job to a standard I thought was adequate. I fully accept the charges against me.”
Toth could have faced fines totalling £25,000 and been ordered to pay compensation of the same amount. The court did not impose any fines but Toth must pay £950 costs.
After the case, Mrs Boddy said: “It has been a really hellish time. I just hope it sends out a message to other cowboy builders – there are people out there that will fight back.
“It’s also a warning to other people. Don’t just trust your gut instincts - check paperwork. Legitimate tradesmen will not mind.”
Mr Boddy added: “It could have cost somebody their life. I would have liked to have seen him hit a bit harder.”
n See Tuesday’s Lynn News for the full story of the Boddys’ cowboy builder nightmare.
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