Terri Dainty, 40, wanted to use money left over from a cancelled holiday to renovate her garden, having decided that it was important to have somewhere safe for her children to play and spend time outdoors during a time when they were not able to go to school or visit friends.
She was told by landscaper, Byron Rimmer of Rimmers Property Maintenance, that the work would cost £6,000, however Terri’s dream job quickly turned into a nightmare when he was not completing the job correctly.
Despite the poor standard of the work being undertaken, Rimmer demanded extra funds to continue working. He then disappeared, leaving the project unfinished.
Terri, a hotel chef said: “I wanted the walls rendering, new steps, a decking area, a patio, and he's not done anything. The garden looks worse now than when he started it. He's just painted the bricks and put astroturf down with silicone, the steps were so unsafe, my mum fell down them and broke her arm.
“It’s been awful, I'm constantly scraping by. It got to the point where we didn't have any money left so my mum used her savings and then he kept saying we need more, so my grandma used her pension money, and on a personal level that's awful, it's not just affecting my children, who by the way haven’t been in the garden for two years because it's not safe.”
Terri is mother to Harry six, Maisie 10, Ruby 14, Grace 16 and Ellie 19 who is Type 1 diabetic, and at one point the landscapers even unplugged the fridge which stored Ellie’s insulin, meaning they had to get an emergency prescription to avoid a “life-threatening” situation.
In the end, Terri had spent £9215 when she says Mr Rimmer “disappeared off the face of the earth”, leaving her feeling “helpless”, until Cameron Crook, a tradesmen from Croston came to her aid, after hearing of her situation through mutual friends.
Cameron, 35, the owner of a renovation company with 20 years experience in the construction industry, said: “In Terri's case, he took quite substantial amounts of money off her so she was out of her depth, because she knew she would have to take him to court but she didn't technically know what was wrong with the job, so that’s where I stepped in.
"As a tradesman, it's very insulting. I go to jobs, and I'm being judged before I get through the door because of people like this, so that encouraged me to say I can help this lady. There's a lot of builders that are highly qualified, highly skilled and are willing to help out so I'm trying to fight against that negativity that we get.”
Cameron, with the help of other tradesmen, mediated talks between Terri and Mr Rimmer for two weeks, asking him to pay for a qualified landscaper to complete the job or return the money, however no agreement was reached.
One of these tradesmen set up a GofundMe to help Terri rebuild her garden, and although it did not raise enough for that, Cameron helped her use this money to take Mr Rimmer to court, guiding her through the process.
Terri first went to Preston County Court with her claim but as it was during the pandemic, the case was heard in the County Court at Online Civil Money Claims on June 4 2021 instead, and it found in Terri's favour, with Mr Rimmer being told he had to return all the money.
A High Court Writ of Control was then issued with a Notice of Enforcement being sent to the debtor, however no contact has been able to be made with Mr Rimmer since, and he cannot be traced.
Terri added: “Deep down, I know I'm not going to get any of the money back but we need to stop him from doing it to other people because he is still doing it to other people, and he will carry on doing it to other people!”
In order to spread awareness further, Terri teamed up with a Lancashire firm called Kiistone, which you can read about here.
The Post was unable to contact Byron Rimmer for comment.