Devastated family gave £46k to cowboy builder who spent it on booze and drugs

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A family were left living on “a building site” after splashing out £46,000 on a cowboy builder.

Kelvin and Julie Briggs enlisted builder Jamie Thompson to carry out work on their home in Billingham, County Durham, in 2017.

The extension was meant for Julie’s elderly parents and her brother Andrew Stothard, who suffers from disabilities.

Thompson was instructed to begin work in January that year but didn’t get started until April, prosecutor Joanne Kidd earlier told Teesside Crown Court.

The family became concerned at the slow progress and had to use other people’s bathrooms due to “significant delays”, Teesside Live reported.

In July 2017, a council representative turned up at the home saying no application had been submitted and that work should not have started.

Thompson eventually left the project after the family complained to Trading Standards, and all attempts to contact him for a refund failed.

The Briggs were left living "on a building site" – with their elderly parents Ann and Brian Stothard still in rented accommodation.

Thompson was eventually brought to justice and jailed for 13 months and two weeks at Teesside Crown Court last week.

The judge said he was using the money to "fund alcohol, drugs and your four mortgages you had to pay."

Scott Horsley, a friend of Kelvin, 44, told Teesside Live of the "horrendous" situation and described it as "absolutely unbelievable".

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With their permission, he launched a fundraising page to help the "devastated" family and achieve their home renovation plans.

He says "the family have been quoted up to £60,000 to rectify and complete the works".

On the GoFundMe page, Scott explained the property requires essential underpinning and structural works which will make the building safe and watertight.

He added: "Once the structure is made safe, we can then involve local businesses and tradespeople to help make the house liveable for the full family.

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"The money isn't to buy taps and electric sockets, it's to make the house structurally safe before the building work on the inside.

"Then it's onto Plan B – trying to get people involved and local businesses to help out."

Scott said the family are still in a "Xatch 22 situation" after "sinking all of their savings into the development".

Ann and Brian, who are 72 and 73, have moved house 12 times due to taking on short-term rental contracts waiting for building to be completed.

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He added: "I'm asking for help due to the state that the property has been left, they do not see the day when Ann and Brian who are in their 70s will have a home of their own.

"Ann and Brian have used all of their saving/pension funds over the past three years on numerous rentals due to building works never being completed.

"It's just not right. They're in their 70s and should have a decent quality life now."

Scott said the family have estimated it will be around four years before the house is in a "livable state".

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