A COUPLE have spoken of their fury after an alleged cowboy builder vanished with the £2,000 they'd paid him to fit their kitchen – just two hours into the job.
Kate and Brian Hall say they've "been done" by a tradesman with growing list of furious customers.
The couple, from Redditch in Worcestershire, booked Steven Davis after spotting his ad on website myworkman.co.uk.
Mr Davis – who trades under the name Birmingham Plumbing Services Ltd – turned up at the couple's bungalow on October 6.
After they paid him the £2,000 in cash he'd insisted upon before starting work, he began ripping out the kitchen – but the following day, he told Mr and Mrs Hall he was ill.
He hasn't returned to the property since.
The couple had paid for the re-fit with redundancy money paid to Mr Hall, 61, who lost his job as a grinder for an aerospace company during lockdown.
Mrs Hall, 66, told the Birmingham Mail: "It's been a nightmare because my husband was made redundant on top of everything and I've been shielding because I've got emphysema.
"Steven Davis even sent me a photograph of the cooker he'd ordered me. I've paid for it and he's taken all the money, everything.
"We've been absolutely broken."
The mum-of-two said Mr Davis initially arrived on a Monday and completed two hours of work.
"He then came back on the Tuesday and said, 'I can't concentrate, I feel really ill – I've got to go home'," she said.
"So he went home and we haven't seen him since.
"I messaged him and he messaged back, and he said, 'I've phoned the doctor, I'm really ill, I think I've had food poisoning'.
"So we said, 'OK, start again Monday'.
"We kept messaging that week to get hold of him. Eventually he messaged back, 'Oh, my car won't start, my car's broken down. I've got to buy a new car'.
"I messaged him on the Sunday and he didn't reply, then messaged him on the Monday, waiting for him to turn up – nothing back.
"He took everything out, the work surfaces, the sink, the tiles off the walls, all of the appliances.
"My washing machine was left unplumbed, my fridge was there, everything else was out, things unplumbed, sockets hanging off the walls."
With no kitchen, the couple were forced to rely on takeaways for the next few weeks as they hoped Mr Davis would return – before realising Mr Davis has a list of unhappy customers who have complained about his service.
Mrs Hall said: "We've been done."
The couple say they contacted police who advised them to contact Trading Standards.
Officials for the service are investigating their complaint.
They have also now paid another builder a further £2,000 to fit their out-of-action kitchen.
Mrs Hall said: "It's an absolute nightmare.
"I've just cried all the time."
Another alleged victim of Mr Davis, who did not want to be named, also contacted the paper after claiming he paid for bathroom work that had been left unfinished.
He said: "Just wanted to make you aware that this guy is still at it.
"He took out all the bathroom fittings so I can't turn the water back on till I get another plumber round.
"He should be in prison. I've reported it to the police."
Another couple, Susan and David Price of Rubery, also paid Mr Davis £3,740 for renovation works at their home.
They also claimed he did just two hours work before "vanishing" and not returning their calls.
Worcestershire Trading Standards said it was liaising with police over complaints relating to Mr Davis.
Sun Online has contacted Mr Davis for comment.
The business name he continues to use is Birmingham Plumbing Services Ltd, though this business was dissolved in 2017.
It's an absolute nightmare. I've just cried all the time.
In August, a Bath family were left heartbroken after a builder disappeared – leaving £40,000-worth of damage to their now-uninhabitable home.
Charlotte Rudolph and her partner Sam Peacock had paid £287,000 for their dream home, and planned to move in with their children Ruby, seven, and Dylan, six.
The builder said he would do the job for £35,000 – including labour and materials – but the cost eventually rose to more than £41,000.
When the couple sought a second opinion, he abandoned the job, removing tools from the site.
They were then told by regulators that much of the work was inadequate – meaning they'll have to fork out at least another £20,000.
And in February, builder Thomas McDonagh allegedly left a woman's garden 'looking like a scene from a war film'.
He reportedly quoted Sharon Davis £21,000 for a patio – but halfway through the four-week job, she told Mr McDonagh to stop after he dug out 200 tons of soil.
He even left a wheelbarrow, ladders and tarpaulin in the 538-sq ft hole.
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