Cowboy builders risk lives of young family

Builders cheat couple out of their savings, and leave their home in ruins

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Roof open to the elements

When Phil and Gaby Beckle-Raymond called in builders to fix a leak in their home, they had no idea of the horrors these cowboys would inflict on their house. Now, a Chanel 5 programme reveals that they have lost their entire £17,000 savings, and are living in one room with their two children - in a dangerous building with no roof.

Tonight's episode of Britain's Horror Homes shows how the couple bought the three-bedroom property in North London five years ago. They worked hard on the house, creating a family home for them and their two young children. However, their problems began when the roof started to leak, so they called a builder, who agreed to re-tile the roof - at a cost of £3,000.

He then convinced the couple that the roof was unsafe. He suggested that as they needed to rebuild the roof, they may as well get a loft conversion and add value to the property. He even found a firm that could do it for them, and took another £7,000 deposit.

The subcontractor started work, and the first builder disappeared. He persuaded them to part with another £7,000 for materials. At that point alarm bells started ringing about the quality of the subcontractor's work. When they confronted him, he disappeared too. At that point there was no roof on the property, and the only protection from the elements was a thin sheet of tarpaulin.

Horrors

Water has since got into the property, and the ceilings have collapsed in the main bedroom. The couple were left with a home in ruins, and no money to put it right. A local builder has been trying to help at the weekends without pay, on trust that the couple will pay him when they can afford to.

A friend has set up a fundraising page, to collect the £15,000 they need to put it all right again. She wrote: "This young family has been forced to live in one room as rainy weather has seen three ceilings collapsed and water damage throughout the house. They cannot use any electricity upstairs because of continuing leaking."

So far the page has raised £4,410 in three months. The couple is hoping that the programme will help them reach their target. They wrote on the page: "We hope to use this media opportunity to help us continue to raise the £10,000 deficit that still remains for us to complete our home and get our children back in their own beds so we can all get a much needed good night sleep!"

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