Woman's fury at garden-wrecking conmen

A STUNNED mother-of-two returned home to discover scam artists had ruined her garden and expected her to pay £5,000 to put it right.

A STUNNED mother-of-two returned home to discover scam artists had ruined her garden and expected her to pay £5,000 to put it right.

Tricia Faulkner, 48, has been left with a bill running into thousands of pounds after cowboy workmen dug up her front garden and drive without her permission.

The con-men downed tools when Mrs Faulkner from Colchester, refused to pay up leaving her and other householders with a sea of mud and rubble where there was once a garden.

Mrs Faulkner, who works as a medic in the film and television industry, said: “I was getting quotes for a new section of drive because my existing one is so steep and these men knocked on my door and offered to give me a quote.

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“They had called out of the blue but, as I was expecting someone else to come round to see me about the work, I let them give me a quotation.

“They quoted me £2,300 but I told them I was getting other quotations for the work and did not tell them to go ahead.”

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Following a night shift Mrs Faulkner came home to discover her front garden and driveway had been bulldozed by the rogue workmen.

She said: “I returned to find my garden area had been dug up and they had started digging up my neighbour's drive without consent. It was a real shock.

“They carried on working but I gave them no money and told them to stop work while I obtained a surveyor's report - costing £110 - which said the hardcore they had used was just huge lumps of broken-down road material.”

The bogus builders quoted Mrs Faulkner more than £5,000 to build her drive but she refused to pay and eventually they abandoned the job and left.

She said: “My garden is left looking a mess and dangerous but I can't afford to pay the amount needed to put it right.

“I also found that other people in my road and in neighbouring streets had had similar work started without their consent and that the work was shoddy and uneven.”

The eagle-eyed mum took down the builders' registration numbers and passed them on to police and Trading Standards. She discovered they had also targeted homes across London and the south east of England.

Trading Standards has now teamed up with the London 'Scambusters' team to investigate the rogue gang of workers.

Roger Walters, cabinet member for Trading Standards, said: “We are following up various leads now to track the group down. We also warn the public that they should never deal with home maintenance traders who cold call at their homes.”

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