And finally… Builder knocks down conservatory with a sledgehammer over disputed £30,000 bill

sledgehammerA builder destroyed a conservatory with a sledgehammer after a dispute erupted over payment on a £30,000 building project.

The Mirror has reported that George Gentles, 54, carried out the act after a double glazing firm who had contracted him to carry out £4,100 worth of work refused to pay up.

Homeowner David Huggins, 67, had agreed a contract with conservatory specialists Everest but a series of building delays led to Gentles being hired by them to put in a foundation wall.

The work was completed but Gentles struggled to get Everest to hand over money for the work at the property in Larkhall, Lanarkshire.

His own business was struggling for cash and he was relying on payment to allow him to pay wages and buy materials.

Letters, emails and phone calls were exchanged but when the money didn’t appear he returned to the house and demolished the wall as terrified Mr Huggins and his wife and son looked on.

Gentles, of Baillieston, Glasgow, has appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court where he has admitted his wrecking spree of April last year.

CCTV footage shows burly Gentles and a co-worker repeatedly striking the brick work with hammers leaving it in ruins in a half hour long demolition.

Fiscal depute Vishnu Kathuria said: “On the date in question, the accused arrived at the site stating he had not been paid by the company Everest.

“The complainer contacted them and spoke with a Paul Stevenson and eventually the phone call was passed to the accused.

“Mr Stevenson spoke to the accused and there was an exchange of words and then handed the phone back to the complainer.

“He then proceeded to smash and tear down the wall he had constructed himself with a sledgehammer and ordered an employee to do the same.

“The accused then got in his van and drove off.

“The complainer, who had just got out of hospital a couple of days earlier and suffers from a chronic disorder, was extremely distressed and this made him very anxious.

“His 63-year-old wife and 31-year-old son were also alarmed by this and were in tears regarding what damage had been caused and if the accused would return and police were called in.

“In respect of the damage, the company Everest rebuilt the wall at no extra cost to the complainer.”

Vincent McGovern, defending, said Gentles was £7,000 in debt when he cracked and has since closed his company down.

He added: “He has never been in trouble before and he regrets the impact this had on the complainer.

“This sort of behaviour would be extremely frightening.

“He believed he owned the materials until he was paid for them but he understands what he did was wrong.”

Sheriff Andrew McIntyre deferred sentence for reports, telling Gentles: “This was, as you now admit, quite awful behaviour and it was quite a shocking scene we saw on the CCTV.

“It must have been very distressing for the family watching you demolish part of their home no matter what the background was.

“I will keep all options open at this stage.”

Claims Gentles also used a wrecking ball were dropped by prosecutors.

Mr Huggins was unavailable for comment.

Gentles refused to comment.

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