Hatfield couple delighted after builder forced to pay £52k for botched job

PUBLISHED: 10:48 14 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:48 14 December 2017

Vanessa and Francis O'Donnell

Vanessa and Francis O'Donnell

Archant

A Hatfield couple have thanked Trading Standards after it forced a builder to repay over £50k following a botched house extension.

Vanessa and Francis O'Donnell were left devestated at the botched work.Vanessa and Francis O'Donnell were left devestated at the botched work.

The public service, which ensures businesses comply with trading laws on behalf of the county council, previously took Danny Cronin, from Lynwood Drive in Romford, to court over the work done in Clarke’s Road.

The 36-year-old had been given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 21 months, but Hatfield couple Vanessa and Francis O’Donnell were still left drowning in debt after the £128,500 ordeal.

Vanessa, 44, said: “At the time it was devastating because we didn’t know where to turn. Trading Standards were literally my last hope.

“We were literally in a case of what the hell do we do next, it was horrendously stressful with sleepless nights.”

Vanessa and Francis O'Donnell were left devestated at the botched work.Vanessa and Francis O'Donnell were left devestated at the botched work.

However, Trading Standards continued with the case and has obtained a court order that forces Cronin to pay the family £51,996 – the full amount of his criminal benefit – within three months.

If he fails to do so, he will be sentenced to nine months’ prison, in addition to his six-month suspended sentence, and still have to repay the money.

“Building cases don’t go this far a lot of the time because people give up,” Mrs O’Donnell told the WHT.

“Without Trading Standards we would have had nothing because we wouldn’t have had money to take him to court ourselves.

“In that respect we are so lucky Trading Standards took on the case and paid all the legal fees on our behalves.

“We haven’t had the stress or gone to court, but are lucky enough to hopefully walk away with the money.

“It’s amazing for us that they took it on.”

She urged anyone who has suffered a similar plight to contact Trading Standards as it is an option many people are unaware of.

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