Series 3 - Episode 3: Leicester

Cowboy Builders - Leicester

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Bhavner and her husband Kirit had always known that they would need to extend their small family home when their three sons were too old to share a room. The extension would prove costly for a travel agent and a shop assistant, costing the couple some £30,000. “My dream was that all three children could have a room to themselves,” Kirit says.

In 2007, the couple contacted a builder with a good reputation within Leicester’s Asian community. But the unscrupulous charlatan left the family with a garden that looked like a warzone. Instead of the planned lounge, bedroom and bathroom, he erected four walls and left the extension with no roof, no floor and no plumbing. To make space for his shoddy workmanship, he knocked down the family conservatory and damaged the existing roof, leaving a life-threatening stretch of live wires and sockets exposed to the elements. Bhavner began to suffer from panic attacks as her family spent two winters in an unfinished house, taking turns to spend the night on the floor.

Dom is determined to bring the builder to justice, but he is nowhere to be found, and has been operating under multiple company names. As Dom meets up with some of the builder’s other victims, he begins to build up a picture of the man. The cowboy has burned through Leicester’s Asian community, taking people’s money and leaving a mess of unfinished, dangerous workmanship in his wake. One 76-year-old customer borrowed money from his family and cashed in his pension to pay for a kitchen extension. The job was left unfinished and the gas disconnected, with the pensioner left to rely on his neighbours for six months. Dom also meets Ash, who suspects that the builder is trying to scam as many people as possible before he flees the country to live with his wife in India.

Sheree is determined to give Bhavner and Kirit the home they paid for, but new project manager John is worried that it could strain his resources. The team allocates a whopping £22,000 to the project, almost all of which will be spent on building work. Sheree is left to round up furniture donations from local vendors. Once the extension has been completed, there will be 500 square feet to decorate, so Sheree turns on the charm and heads to town to find a deal. Despite her reservations, she has big plans for the place. “This family are not going to know what hit them,” she says. “It is going to be fabulous.”

Dom is on edge. Despite a seemingly never-ending trail of victims, he can’t track down the renegade builder. If the cowboy has left for India, the game could already be up. Dom finally tracks down a former neighbour, who claims to have seen the dodgy builder a few days ago. With the culprit still in Britain, there is still hope to bring him to justice. “The net is drawing in,” Dom declares...

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  • Series 3 - Episode 1: Cardiff

    Dominic Littlewood and Sheree Murphy help a family who have been living in a half-finished shell.

  • Series 1 - Episode 5: Plymouth

    Melinda Messenger and Dominic Littlewood come to the rescue of homeowners. The pair head to Plymouth to assist a family with an unfinished extension.

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