A SOLDIER says a builder left him high and dry after he handed over thousands of pounds for renovations – and was left with a gaping hole in his house.
Simon Hayward left the army after 23 years in April and set aside £20,000 from his gratuity to renovate the downstairs of his family’s home in Southleigh Road, Havant.
It would be nice to remind him that the money I gave him was earned defending way of life that he is currently abusingSimon Hayward
He says the building firm, which The News cannot name, agreed to undertake the work and asked for £8,000 up front.
After a couple of weeks of work at the beginning of the summer the builder appeared less and less and texts and calls from Mr Hayward went unanswered.
The builder was eventually persuaded to turn up and he removed the patio doors, leaving the back of the house exposed.
Mr Hayward claims that after saying he was popping off for some more materials on the afternoon of August 14, the builder was never seen again.
Mr Hayward’s wife Nicola was away serving with the army in Canada at the time and it meant he was trapped in the house with the children because it was unsecured.
He said that materials the builder claimed he had paid for – including new patio doors costing £5,000 – had not been.
And Mr Hayward was left to pay for carpenters and electricians himself.
He said: ‘I will be very generous to him and say he personally carried out about £2,000 worth of work which was a bit of plastering.
‘I feel guilty as a parent and as a husband for being fooled by this man.
‘He left the back of the house completely exposed and I was trapped with the children. We couldn’t go out because there was no way of securing it.
‘After five days I had to accept he wasn’t coming back so I had to pay someone else to board it up.
‘Since my daughter was tiny we’d promised her a trip to Disney World when I left the army.
‘But we are only just able to scrape the money together for that because we’re now broke.
‘The builder will not respond to my texts or emails.
‘I would consider the matter closed if he repaid a fair amount to me. It would be nice to remind him that the money I gave him was earned defending the way of life that he is currently abusing’.
In an email to The News, the builder said: ‘I’ve done work which I’ve been paid for and materials are still at job, which I paid for with money I was given. I have all receipts.’
Mr Hayward said he is thankful for the help given to him by other tradesmen who stepped in when they heard about the problems with the builder.
And he added: ‘The only materials left at my house were a broom, wheelbarrow, trowel and mixing bucket.
‘There were also some half-used bags of plaster.’