Wroxall couple conned by builder are thousands out of pocket

By Mal Butler May 24, 2024

An elderly couple, who paid out thousands of pounds to a builder to add a conservatory to their bungalow, have been left out of pocket after they allege he left the project unfinished and disappeared.

David Hobbs, 77, and his wife, Teresa, 76, of Wroxall, wanted the conservatory to be an extension to their bedroom.

They contacted Martyn Deathridge, of MD Building & Roofing, after he placed a full-page advertisement in the parish magazine.

David said: “This started last September; I made staged payments as the job progressed so he could buy materials, but there was a payment in full on completion.

“He gave us a hand-written itemised quote which came to £8,500 but we made a few changes including a glass roof to the conservatory, so the bill was a bit more, just over £10,000, which was agreed.

“Originally, when he started the job, he was here four days a week and knocked the wall though.

“As the project continued, he was here less and less and, by the end, would do half-days before saying he had to be elsewhere.

“By March, he wanted the whole fee up front, even though we were left with a half-built conservatory with no roof.

“But he had only done 40 per cent of the work, so we refused. Then, suddenly, he stopped coming here and we haven’t seen him since. He just doesn’t answer his phone. Meanwhile, there is material around the outside of the house, and the conservatory is not fit for purpose.

“We asked another local builder to look at it and he gave us a full page of amendments to his work which would need to be done to make it fit for purpose. I have been told we may as well knock it all down and start again. We feel conned.

“We have been in touch with a family member of his on the Island, and also on the mainland, and they have given us some money back as a goodwill gesture. But we are thousands of pounds out of pocket.”

Teresa added: “He has taken our savings; for what? We are good trusting people but this has distorted our view of how we now look at other people.

“We have contacted Citizen’s Advice and Trading Standards, but they can’t help; it’s heartbreaking.”

Friend Teresa Peston has started a GoFundMe page via her Facebook page.

The IW Observer has phoned Mr Deathridge a number of times, but his phone was turned off. We also texted Mr Deathridge for a comment, but he has not replied.