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Rogue botch-job builder was so bad his victims formed Facebook ‘survivor’s group’

Crook Mark Buck, 49, left a trail of destruction in his wake after fleecing customers out of thousands by botching and failing to finish multiple jobs. His victims were so upset and numerous that they joined forces to form a “survivor’s group” on Facebook

Almost 200 victims joined a Facebook survivors' group after being fleeced by rogue builder Mark Buck, 49
Almost 200 victims joined a Facebook survivors’ group after being fleeced by rogue builder Mark Buck, 49

One of Britain’s worst rogue builders has been jailed for inflicting untold mental stress on dozens of victims – who were so upset they formed a “survivor’s group” on Facebook.

Crook Mark Buck, 49, took money from customers but left multiple jobs botched and unfinished – with some victims tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket.

His trail of destruction and misery was so bad it lead trading standards to dub him “one of the worst rogue builders ” they had ever seen.

And many of Buck’s victims were left to find support in a Facebook “survivors’ group”, which has nearly 100 members, including tradespeople who said they had not been paid.

Buck, of Compton Dando, Somerset, was jailed for five years after he admitted fraudulent trading.






Buck was jailed at Bristol Crown Court for the distress he caused his multiple victims





His victims supported each other and swapped horror stories on a Facebook survivor’s group

Bristol Crown Court was told he also called himself Mark Budd, Mark Bailey and Mark Brown and traded as I Build 4 U, MB Construction, MB Building Services and Ashlar SW Ltd among others. He had also declared himself bankrupt twice.

But his victims said he had left them with major repair work and hefty bills for unfinished work.

Some were left with water pouring through ceilings and dealing with ditches outside their homes.

The court heard his customers had suffered financially as well as emotionally.

Among them was Claire Snook, from Portishead, who was left £60,000 out of pocket after asking him to build a loft conversion in 2018.

He asked for a large deposit upfront, but work stalled soon after he started.

Ms Snook said her roof was left unfinished for months, including during the “Beast From The East” storm, when water came into the house.

She told the BBC : “I’m a disabled woman and I was taking care of my elderly mother.

“We were both living in this house that was not waterproof in the winter.

“We had weather coming in and everything was leaking. We were terrified to use the electrics in the house, in the depth of winter.”

Ms Snook has spent the past two years completing and repairing the work at her own expense.

She said: “You cannot imagine the impact that has on your mental health.

“You know that you have to go home to this building site, and you have no idea when it’s going to be finished.

“You have no idea how you’re going to be able to afford to pay to get this finished. It’s been indescribable.”

Foster carers Rik and Jo Clews, from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, contracted Buck to build a kitchen extension in summer 2019.

The work was quickly abandoned and the couple were left with a huge ditch that filled with water outside their house for several months.

Mrs Clews said: “They admitted to us when they were doing the drains they had no idea what they were doing.

“In the end I found a YouTube video on what to do with the drains and gave them instructions, because they were literally digging holes in places they didn’t know.”

Mrs Clews was diagnosed with cancer while the building work remained unfinished.

She said: “I couldn’t really believe somebody can do that to you when you’re on rock bottom.

“We were in the hospital waiting room waiting to go in for an operation, and we have a phone call from his suppliers saying they haven’t been paid.

“The mental stress was horrendous.”

Trading Standards Officer for the south west, Francis Chalk, said after the sentencing: “I’ve been in Trading Standards for 30 years and I think he’s probably one of the worst rogue builders we’ve ever had to deal with.

“He made promises to people about timescales which he could never keep.

“He took large amounts of money for items he never ordered – or ever supplied – and when he did do some building work, a lot of it was never completed.”

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