Retired Portsmouth shop worker wins £5,500 court case against builder who calls himself a 'Lord'

A WOMAN has won a £5,000 court case against a Portsmouth builder after her kitchen was left in a ‘state’.

Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 4:21 pm

Debi Poole, 61, from Farlington, took Bedford Builders & Construction Ltd to county court over a £9,000 half-finished job at her home.

The retired Tesco worker had asked builder Andrew Bedford, 57 - who runs the company and goes by ‘Lord Andrew Bedford’ - to put in a downstairs toilet and revamp her kitchen.

But she ended up paying more and more cash - before kicking him off site when no work was done for four weeks, her court claim says.

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'Lord' Andrew Bedford, 57, Picture: Sarah Standing (160508-6936)

Ms Poole took the case to court and a judge ordered Mr Bedford to pay up £5,500 – but he admitted he has not paid a penny.

When The News contacted him yesterday about the building work, he went to Ms Poole’s home and offered to pay £500 a month to wipe the debt.

She told The News: ‘It’s just a drain - people keep saying “when are you going to get your kitchen done?”

‘I was waiting for the money back from him to get it done.

‘It’s been like this over a year. My kitchen is still in the same state.

‘It’s just absolutely draining - I’m just so annoyed I’ve been let down.’

She paid a £2,000 deposit for the toilet in August 2020, she said in her court claim.

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She then paid £3,600 for work in the kitchen and was told it would take six days. This involved the removal of a wall.

On December 17 she paid £3,000 for more materials but said ‘nothing else was brought’.

She paid £500 more on December 28 after being asked for £1,500, she said.

By January 16 she ‘kicked him off the job’ after no further work was done in four weeks, she said. By this point the country was in lockdown.

She filed a claim that alleged: ‘Not supplying materials or staff to carry out the work, taking too long to finish the job. Telling too many lies.’

Bedford filed a defence but did not show up at the hearing in September.

A judge sided with Ms Poole and awarded her £5,000 plus a £510 court fee, ordering an absent Mr Bedford to pay up in 12 days.

He told The News he ran a limited company and did not have to pay up, but would do so - and blamed lockdown for wrecking his business.

‘I didn’t even know about the court case, I was in a bad way,’ Mr Bedford said despite filing a defence claim seen by The News.

He said he suffered from poor mental health after being owed money by a company unrelated to Ms Poole.

‘I will get back on my feet and she will get money back,’ he told this newspaper. ‘I’m not a bad person - I don’t go around ripping people off.’

‘At the end of the day it was lockdown. A lot of companies went to the wall in lockdown and I was one of them.’

He added: ‘I’ve even got my house up for sale to help me pay for everything.’

Mr Bedford said he would pay back other people he owed money but was doing so out of his ‘own pocket’.

In his court defence, he said the work started in December but it couldn’t be done in seven to nine days ‘before Christmas’ last year but he wanted to get the kitchen and cooker in place.

‘We had 90 per cent of it completed and then the lockdown came,’ he said. ‘We did continue with her project and only had the floor to lay and a few odds and sods.

‘The work was about three-four days minimum.’

He said the person due to fit the floor caught Covid and could not work.

‘My staff was down because of the virus, it was unbearable,’ Mr Bedford said.

In his defence filing, he added: ‘I said I had the floor and... when I was “told take it back we don't want you here anymore” – that came as a massive surprise to me.’

Mr Bedford said his business was ‘flying’ before lockdown last year and plans to appeal the court judgment.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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