A family say they have been left “financially crippled” by a cowboy builder who left their renovation plans in complete disarray.
Kelvin and Julie Briggs bought a property on Mainsforth Drive, Billingham, with the intention of building an extension in order to co-habit with Mrs Briggs’ elderly parents.
They also had a long-term plan to home Julie's brother Andrew Stothard, who has disabilities.
However, after forking out over £46,000 they were left living "on a building site" – with their elderly parents Ann and Brian Stothard, 72 and 73, still in rented accommodation.
Builder Jamie Thompson has now been jailed for 13 months and two weeks at Teesside Crown Court after admitting two offences of engaging in unfair commercial practices and one of fraud.
Thompson, a builder from Hartlepool with 25 years' experience, spent the cash for the project on drink and drugs he was taking after the break-up of his marriage.
The court heard that he would turn up whenever he felt before carrying work out to a poor standard.
In September 2017, he took almost £3,000 from the couple for a guarantee to finish the work by November – but he failed to carry it out.
Mrs Briggs also paid Thompson £1,600 for a new boiler – which he pretended to order in a fake phone call.
He also told the couple he would take care of the building regulations as part of his quote.
But eight months into the job, Mrs Briggs discovered planning approval had never been applied for when she rang Stockton Borough Council.
Sentencing Thompson, judge Jonathan Carroll said: "This is a category of case that can be described in layman’s language as a cowboy builder.
“You rendered over an extended period of time their life a complete misery as you promised to deliver that [extension] and failed and failed and failed again.
"This has had a devastating impact upon her [Mrs Briggs] and her family.”
Christine Egerton, defending, said Thompson accepted he had "no thought" for Mr and Mrs Briggs at the time.
She said: “He wishes to apologise for his actions to the victims. He’s ashamed of what he did.”
A friend of the family said it only "scratched the surface" of the three-year ordeal the family has been put through by Thompson.
Scott Horsley, a friend of Mr Briggs, told of the “horrendous" situation describing it as "absolutely unbelievable”.
A large part of the property has been left "uninhabitable" and the family have been quoted up to £60,000 to “rectify and complete the works”.
A GoFundMe page has raised just over £1,000 of the £10,000 target to help with the works.
Watch: What you can and can’t do during England’s third national lockdown