A COUPLE who were left nearly £10,000 out of pocket when a fraudulent builder left their home looking like a “building site” have spoken of their relief at his conviction.

John Duggan, 52, had 30 years of convictions for deception and scams and was on parole from a lengthy prison sentence for a £470,000 building trade fraud when he agreed to build a conservatory for retired Haxby couple Ruth and Barry Simpson.

But the work, which started in October 2010, was never completed and was described in a statement to the court by a surveyor as “the worst piece of workmanship he had seen for some considerable time”. Duggan has now been jailed for eight months.

The building was neither weatherproof nor waterproof and needs complete demolition and rebuilding at a cost of £7,642.

The couple, who used Mr Simpson’s pension money to pay for the work, said they have found the last couple of years quite traumatic.

Mrs Simpson said: “I’m relieved now. I’m glad it’s all over for us, it’s been a difficult 18 months.

“I have got high blood pressure and I’m hoping it will come down now.”

The conservatory was supposed to have been dismantled from the nearby home of Mr and Mrs Simpson’s daughter and son-in-law, Clare and Az Ahmad and their young children, and then rebuilt at the home of Mr and Mrs Simpson.

The Ahmads were then hoping to have an extension built at their property.

However, Mrs Ahmad said the conservatory remains in their garden, leaving their home in disarray, and said a poorly constructed “lean to” was made at her parents’.

She said: “This has had a massive impact on us. The house is left completely upside down. It has kind of made us feel worse that he has done it before and has been allowed to carry on. That’s one of the reasons we went down the trading standards route, because we would not want anyone else to be in this position.

“It has probably made my mum ill and certainly stressed us all out.

“It’s my dad’s money – his pension. It’s what he had worked hard for. We wanted to make our lives better and it’s all gone wrong.”

Before engaging Duggan, Mrs Ahmad spoke to other people who had work done by Duggan and got references from them, the court was told.

She thanked Richard Leaning, of trading standards, which mounted the prosecution, for all the help and support he had given the family.

Duggan, of Westcliffe Road, Harrogate, was jailed for eight months after he admitted six offences of engaging in unfair trading – five of them involving his false claims about trade association membership and one about his workmanship.

He was ordered to pay £3,500 compensation to the Simpsons and £1,500 prosecution costs after his solicitor advocate, Malcolm Nowell, said he had £5,000 available.