Builder in court for ‘extremely poor’ work to Southsea home that cost family thousands

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  • Couple say they were terrified after he told them their young son was at risk
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A BUILDER who charged a couple for thousands of pounds worth of work that allegedly did not need doing has appeared in court.

Lee Hopkins, of no fixed address, appeared at Fareham Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with two counts of engaging in unfair commercial practice.

The court heard Hopkins, 41, told married couple Christiaan and Jennifer Hudson they needed extensive work on the roof of their home in Bramshott Road, Southsea, or their son’s life would be at risk.

Hopkins allegedly told the couple that the roof could collapse and kill the six-year-old in bed unless major work was carried out on beam damage caused by wet rot.

Mr Hudson gave evidence at yesterday’s hearing. He said the work was so badly carried out that the family woke on Christmas Eve to find water gushing through large holes in the roof.

Mr Hudson said that when they were first told in October about the need for work, they were so terrified at the thought of something happening to their son, especially as Hopkins said there was a storm approaching that weekend, they immediately agreed to it.

Mr Hudson said: ‘We trusted him so we had no reason to doubt or question what he was telling us.’

The couple had originally let Hopkins carry out small tasks flagged up by a survey when they bought the mid-terraced house in October, after they found his business Papillon CCM on Facebook.

It was while Hopkins was fitting loft insulation that he allegedly made the discovery of wet rot in the roof.

Mr Hudson said they paid him more than £4,000 for the work, which ground to a halt in December. The couple said they then had to pay another builder more than £6,000 to rectify the damage Hopkins had caused to their property.

Prosecuting Oliver Wellings said that the work had been ‘extremely poorly done’ and that the works required were ‘grossly exaggerated.’

Hopkins, who uses an address of Shelford Road in Southsea for his business, denies the charges.

Defending, Simon Moger said the only time Hopkins mentioned danger to the boy was in relation to him playing near brackets put up to support the roof. He also said Hopkins had maintained regular contact with the couple throughout the work and that Mrs Hudson had even recommended him on Facebook.