Rogue builder jailed after victims form Facebook 'survivors' group'

Mark Buck, 49, left multiple jobs botched and unfinished. (SWNS)
Mark Buck, 49, left multiple jobs botched and unfinished. (SWNS)

A rogue builder has been jailed for inflicting mental stress on dozens of victims - who were forced to form a Facebook survival group.

Mark Buck, 49, left multiple jobs botched and unfinished - with some people tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket.

His trail of destruction and misery was so bad it lead to trading standards describing him as "one of the worst rogue builder" they had ever seen.

And many of Buck's victims were left to find support in a Facebook "survivors' group", which has nearly 100 members, including tradespeople who said they had not been paid.

Buck, of Somerset, was jailed for five years after he admitted fraudulent trading at Bristol Crown Court.

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Bristol Crown court and Law Courts Small Street Bristol Avon England UK GB EU Europe. (Photo by: Andrew Michael/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Mark Buck was jailed at Bristol Crown Court. (Getty Images)

Buck’s victims said he had left them with major repair work and hefty bills for unfinished work.

Some were left with water pouring through ceilings and dealing with ditches outside their homes.

The court heard his customers had suffered financially as well as emotionally.

Among them was Claire Snook, from Portishead, who was left £60,000 out of pocket after asking him to build a loft conversion in 2018.

He asked for a large deposit upfront, but work stalled soon after he started.

Ms Snook said her roof was left unfinished for months, including during the "Beast From The East" storm, when water came into the house.

She told the BBC: "I'm a disabled woman and I was taking care of my elderly mother.

"We were both living in this house that was not waterproof in the winter.

"We had weather coming in and everything was leaking. We were terrified to use the electrics in the house, in the depth of winter."

Ms Snook has spent the past two years completing and repairing the work at her own expense.

She said: "You cannot imagine the impact that has on your mental health.

"You know that you have to go home to this building site, and you have no idea when it's going to be finished.

"You have no idea how you're going to be able to afford to pay to get this finished. It's been indescribable."

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Foster carers Rik and Jo Clews, from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, contracted Buck to build a kitchen extension in summer 2019.

The work was quickly abandoned and the couple were left with a huge ditch that filled with water outside their house for several months.

Mrs Clews added: "They admitted to us when they were doing the drains they had no idea what they were doing.

"In the end I found a YouTube video on what to do with the drains and gave them instructions, because they were literally digging holes in places they didn't know."

-, THAILAND - 2021/10/26: In this photo illustration, the Facebook logo seen displayed on a mobile phone and a pc screen. (Photo Illustration by Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Mark Buck's victims formed a Facebook survivor's group. (Getty Images)

Mrs Clews was diagnosed with cancer while the building work remained unfinished.

She said: "I couldn't really believe somebody can do that to you when you're on rock bottom.

"We were in the hospital waiting room waiting to go in for an operation, and we have a phone call from his suppliers saying they haven't been paid."

Francis Chalk, Trading Standards Officer for the south west, added after the sentencing: "I've been in Trading Standards for 30 years and I think he's probably one of the worst rogue builders we've ever had to deal with."

The court was told Buck also called himself Mark Budd, Mark Bailey and Mark Brown and traded as I Build 4 U, MB Construction, MB Building Services and Ashlar SW Ltd among others.

He had also declared himself bankrupt twice.

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