Homeowners hit hard by rogue traders

PUBLISHED: 05:30 28 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:56 24 May 2010

Rogue traders have been swindling thousands of pounds out of frightened North Somerset residents. Three companies are under investigation for shoddy work and using threatening behaviour. The workers, who tout for business laying driveways and block paving

Rogue traders have been swindling thousands of pounds out of frightened North Somerset residents.Three companies are under investigation for shoddy work and using threatening behaviour.The workers, who tout for business laying driveways and block paving, are targeting homes in Weston, Worle and Bleadon.North Somerset Council trading standards officers say they have current cases where dodgy builders have assaulted customers, harassed elderly residents and carried out appalling work.They have interviewed victims and employed an independent driveway expert to assess the work carried out.Paul Larder was left with damage to the drive of his home in Locking Road, Weston, when builders hit a water and sewerage pipe underneath his garden.The 45-year-old was threatened by three men after he refused to pay for part of the work. About £800 of damage was also caused to his front wall. He said: "They were very intimidating and kept asking me for cash while they were carrying out the work."I'm a carpenter by trade so I can fix some of what they did, but other things are going to cost me a lot of money."One firm threatened to 'send the boys around' if an elderly gentleman did not pay up £4,000 for work it had done.Trading standards officer Helen Heskins said: "The people they target are frightened as the majority are aged between 50 and 80."These people are not likely to take on a serious rogue trader and are getting scared to tell us about it."We have received eight complaints from across the district about one particular company."People who have experienced similar problems should call 08454 040506.

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