A rogue trader who promised 'dream homes and gardens' left customers with unsafe work and piles of rubble.
Brett Grundy, 43, advertised his work on online aggregator sites and used fake profiles to give five-star reviews.
The cowboy builder has now been jailed for 20 months and banned from working as a sole trader for seven years, after Preston Crown Court heard about the trail of devastation he left in his wake.
According to Lancashire Live, when customers complained, Grundy sent threatening and abusive messages, branding two men as paedophiles and leaving one woman so distressed, she tried to take her own life.
A building surveyor for Blackpool Council said his work was "not even basic DIY standard" and valued the work at zero.
Charles Brown, prosecuting, outlined four cases in which Grundy had promised to carry out extensive building and landscaping work for customers on the Fylde Coast.
Trading under the name 'North West Construction', Grundy promised one victim "the garden of your dreams", in exchange for her life savings of almost £10,000. Throughout the project in October 2020, Grundy asked for extra payments, but the quality of work was poor.
In December 2020, a building standards surveyor from Blackpool Council visited the woman's home and valued the work that had been carried out at zero. "Most of the work was not even to a basic DIY standard", Mr Brown said.
Another customer hired Grundy to carry out a kitchen refurbishment - including removal of a chimney breast.
The customer became concerned about the standard of work being carried out, so sought a second opinion. The chimney breast had been knocked out and secured by a piece of wood with six screws.
When the customer contacted Grundy, he was sent threatening messages and branded him a paedophile - leaving him feeling unsafe and intimidated. The man worked in education and feared repercussions from Grundy's threats.
In March 2021, Grundy quoted £21,400 to remove a lean-to and carry out garden work for a couple. Upon noticing Grundy’s poor quality work, the customer began investigating him online.
He discovered a number of poor reviews and contacted Trading Standards to report the rogue trader.
Jonathan Woodward, defending Grundy, said the defendant felt "deep shame and remorse" at the way he had conducted his business. He said Grundy had been in the enterprise with others, who claimed to have the skills to carry out the work to a high standard.
Judge Guy Mathieson, sentencing, said anything other than an immediate prison sentence would excuse the way Grundy had left four people in fear.
He said: "They have never been compensated and this has never been referred to your insurance company. There is no suggestion of ever finding the money to pay back what you took.”
He went on to say that the mental and emotional impact stemming from loss of money and living in houses “open to the elements” was immeasurable for the victims.
Grundy, of Clarendon Road, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to four counts of engaging in commercial practices contravening standards of professional diligence.
Judge Mathieson sentenced him to a total of 20 months custody and made a Criminal Behaviour Order, banning him from working as a sole trader or holding out as a businessman to the public for the next seven years.