Milton couple 'conned' by jailed cowboy builders
PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 January 2011
A MAN has described how cowboy builders swindled him and his wife out of £13,000 after the conmen were given lengthy jail sentences.
Wayne Montague, aged 52, and his wife Jenny, aged 43, handed over the money to Mark Dixon to add a one-story extension to their family home in Milton Brow, Milton.
But after the builders dug up the properties footings, the Montague’s never saw them again, leaving them to shell out several thousand pounds more to fill the dangerous holes in their garden in.
Dixon was jailed for seven years by Bristol Crown Court on Friday on fraud charges, along with fellow gang members Nicholas Harris and Matthew Higgins, who were jailed for eight and six years respectively.
The first Mr Montague heard about the three, who ran two linked firms called Construction Management Development Ltd and CMD Service Ltd, was when they sent him a letter offering their services in 2007.
He said: “We put in a planning application to increase the size of the house, as at the time we had all three of our children living with us, and they must have seen the application on North Somerset Council’s website.
“We had decided to go for it as we had come into quite a lot of money from my wife’s mother’s estate, and wanted to use it to make the house bigger.
“They sent us a letter saying they wanted to take the project on, and then came round. We were a little naïve, but we did as much checking into them as the Data Protection Act allowed us, and they looked kosher.
“They came round, even brought a digger to take out the properties footings, but that was the only time we saw them. All we were left with was a wheelbarrow.”
Mr Montague said that after handing over around £13,000 in two cheques, his calls to the men, who are all from Gloucester, came to nothing.
“I became suspicious when they wouldn’t pick up the first few times, and then when Gloucestershire Trading Standards got in contact about them I knew that something was very wrong.”
After conning more than 50 people across the south of England for a total of more than £900,000, the three were found guilty by a jury on a charge of conspiracy to defraud between April 2005 and October 2007, and now face a financial confiscation hearing later this year.
Mr Montague added: “At the end of this, I feel like we went in very naively, and we ended up having to pay a couple of thousand more to cover up the dangerous holes they had left in the garden.
“But at seven years he got more than I thought he would, so that makes up for it a bit.”