(Inspired by Rogue Traders, a BBC TV programme. Presenter Matt Allwright, an investigative journalist, travels the country filming unscrupulous tradesmen and confronting them with the evidence collected.)
In this episode we visit Dursley, an attractive market town in Gloucestershire situated between Gloucester and Bristol.
Edward Wolfe is the Director of ‘South West Home Improvements.’ His website claims he can do everything from roofing to fencing, paving and building, and even shows the Federation of Master Builders logo. However, we checked with them and he’s definitely not a member.
Following complaints from customers of his in Dursley we decided to investigate.
Mrs Boar contacted Wolfe after reading on his website that he was an experienced thatcher. The roof on her cottage needed replacing.
“He seemed a very nice chap,” she said, when interviewed. “He came and had a look and gave me a verbal quote there and then. He said that if I wanted it done quickly he could fit it in straight away. I had to give him half the money for materials.” The roof was thatched very quickly and Mrs Boar paid the remainder of the money. Unfortunately, as soon as it began to rain, the roof leaked badly. “I’ve tried over and over again to contact him with no luck,” she complained.
Another customer of our friend, Mr Wolfe, was Mr Hog. Mr Hog wanted to improve his garden and make a safe place for his grandchildren to play. As his garden sloped steeply downwards, away from the house, he decided to have an area of fenced decking where the adults could sit out and the children could play. After researching on the internet he invited Mr Wolfe to give him a quote. He paid upfront for the wood and the job was finished quite quickly.
“It looked champion,” said Mr Hog, “but the very first time my little grandchildren played outside the older boy fell through the fence. Fortunately he wasn’t badly hurt, but on further inspection, the whole fence was a disaster, an accident waiting to happen.” He too had failed in his efforts to contact Mr Wolfe.
Our third victim, Mr Piggie, employed Mr Wolfe to build an extension to the back of his home. He showed us round. The garden was in a mess, the foundations were dug and some concrete had been messily laid. His lovely lawn was covered with piles of bricks.
“He took my money and I’ve not seen hide nor hair of him since day one. I can’t even afford to have the garden put back to its original state,” he grumbled.
The team eventually managed to confront Mr Wolfe by lying in wait for him at his home address. They tried to show him video footage of his bodged jobs.
“Nothing to do with me,” he said as he pushed past the presenter. “The company has folded.”
The makers of the programme and their lawyers have had no luck in pursuing Mr Wolfe. His house is now empty. It seems that the cowardly Mr Wolfe has run away.
The three victims, Mrs Boar, Mr Hog and Mr Piggie, have all had the shoddy work completed to a high standard at the expense of the BBC (so they all lived happily ever after).