Search site

Cowboy builder faces 7 months in prison after leaving family home frozen over Christmas

A rogue builder has today, been sentenced to 7 months imprisonment by Wolverhampton Crown Court after leaving a family in despair and £43,000 out of pocket.

Cowboy builder faces seven years in prison after leaving family home frozen over Christmas
Numerous issues with the work

Cowboy builder faces seven years in prison after leaving family home frozen over Christmas
The work was shockingly still incomplete

Trusting residents Mr and Mrs Smith from Penn, employed Peter Fenlon to carry out a 2 storey side extension and single storey rear extension to make way for their dream family home.

In April 2014, Fenlon confirmed that the renovated works would be complete in 16 to 20 weeks.

By June 2014, Fenlon had pocketed £21,000 for work that was not progressing as smoothly or quickly as expected at its half way point. And following numerous delays and false promises, by November 2014, the work was shockingly still incomplete.

Mr Smith noticed obvious problems such as door frames not being square, unsightly silicon being used to fill gaps, extremely uneven floor tiles and wall tiles slipping down the wall in the utility room. 

The family had also been left with no downstairs heating, leaving their house with temperatures dropping below freezing during the winter period.

By this point, a substantial amount of money was paid to Mr Fenlon totalling £43,065.86.

After calls being repeatedly ignored by Fenlon, Mr Smith called out an independent plumber to repair the boiler who also alerted Mr Smith that many of the radiators, fitted by Fenlon, were leaking.

Frustrated by the delay and the poor standard of Fenlon's workmanship, Mr Smith decided to terminate Fenlon's contract and contacted Wolverhampton Trading Standards.

Trading Standards employed building surveyor, Derek Bate to assess the property who found Fenlon's work could cost up to £15,000 to put right.

He reported the standard of work fell well below the level expected of a reasonably competent builder and found numerous issues with the work carried by Fenlon.

Issues included poorly fixed door frames and floor tiling, insufficient insulation which did not meet the minimum specification, damaged breathable membrane, interlocking roof tiles that were not installed in accordance to the manufacturers recommendations and an unlevel floor with a distinct rise to the new extension.

Councillor Steve Evans, Cabinet Member for City Environment at City of Wolverhampton Council said: "I'm pleased a level of justice has been served today. Cowboy builders cause a huge amount of stress to the victims who have worked hard and saved to pay for improvements to their home only to be badly let down.

"It's vital that we bring cases like this to the public's attention, to ensure they avoid becoming victims of reckless cowboy builders.

"As a council, we have a duty to protect consumers from rogue traders who break the law and carry out irresponsible works and we will continue to bring these criminals to justice, no matter how long it takes.

"I sympathize with anyone who becomes victim to rogue builders and the emotional and financial damage their carless actions cause.

"I would like to place on record my thanks to the Council's Trading Standards team for their efforts in bringing some justice for the family that has been affected in this mindless and selfish act."

Peter Fenlon from Ashmore Park, pleaded guilty to breaching the requirements of professional diligence on 18 August, 2017.

  • released: Friday 20 July, 2018