Preston mum vows to bring cowboy builders to justice
A single mum ripped off by a cowboy builder has made a New Year resolution to nail him in court.
Angela Crossthwaite lost more than £2,500 when she hired the smooth-talking jack-of-all-trades to mend her leaking roof.
And, despite drawing a blank in a six-month search to confront him, she has pledged to carry on the fight to get him up before a judge.
“I’ve looked and looked and he seems to have vanished off the face of the earth,” she said at home in Longfield, Fulwood.
“But another woman round the corner who was also ripped off by him managed to get his bank details and so I’m pursuing him that way.”
Angela’s costly experience prompted her to warn other householders across Lancashire to beware of cold callers.
Many neighbourhoods have now declared themselves cold caller free zones in a bid to stop pressure doorstep selling. One of those has been set up in Fulwood.
“The bloke who did me out of all that money was a real charmer,” she said. “He was working down the road and he kept knocking on my door and badgering me to have the roof done.
“In the end I just said ‘yes’ and he left it in a worse state than what it was originally.
“You didn’t need to be a craftsman to see it was a rubbish job.
“The two flat roofs front and back didn’t leak before he started, but they did after he’d finished.
“I had given me two addresses for his company – one in Friargate, Preston and the other in London. Both addresses existed, but they were nothing to do with him.
“I’ve spent the last six months trying to find him and get my money back. But, surprise, surprise, he’s disappeared. No-one has seen him round here for ages now.
“But I’m not going away. He owes me more than £2,600 plus interest of eight per cent and I’m determined to get it.
“I’ve been advised to take him to Small Claims Court. But it costs £100 to start things off and being a single mum I haven’t got that money, especially with Christmas.
“So once I can save it up I’m determined to go for him. I’m not going to give up.
“I know some people who were also done by him have given up and aren’t bothering chasing any more. But not me. I won’t be ripped off.”
After Angela’s story was first published in the LEP a local roofing firm came forward and put the botched job right free of charge.
“It restored my faith in human beings, she said.
“When the firm came round they said the job the cowboy builder had done was terrible.”