Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth builder helps rogue trader victims

The damage left in the Arnott's kitchen by the rogue trader
Image caption The man who Malcolm Arnott paid to carry out the work left the job half finished, with holes in walls and poor electrics

A disabled couple who fell victim to a rogue trader have had a new kitchen and bathroom fitted for free by a builder who came to their aid.

Malcolm Arnott ordered a new kitchen as a birthday present for his wife Carolyn for their home in Clanfield, Hampshire.

He paid more than £13,000 to a local tradesman who then disappeared, leaving the house uninhabitable.

Builder Ernie Etah has since carried out the work after hearing their story on BBC Radio Solent in November.

Image caption Builder Ernie Etah fitted a new kitchen and bathroom for free at the couple's home in Clanfield

Mr Arnott, 70, lives in a nursing home after being paralysed by cancer of the spine. His 60-year-old wife, who has heart problems, still lives in the couple's home.

Mr Etah, of Epic Construction in Portsmouth, said he had suffered temporary paralysis after a serious accident, which is why he wanted to help.

The man who Mr Arnott paid to carry out the work only did part of the job before becoming uncontactable. He has never returned to complete the job.

'Rat fear'

On his arrival at the couple's home Mr Etah said the situation was "atrocious", with holes left in walls and poor electrics.

"It was a fire hazard there - very unsafe, uninhabitable," he said.

"In the bathroom there was a massive hole that you could actually near enough see the footings in - we expected rats to start coming in there."

Image caption Malcolm Arnott ordered a new kitchen as a birthday present for his wife Carolyn (pictured)

Mr Arnott described Mr Etah's actions as "epic".

"It's more than you can dream of - far, far more than I expected," Mr Arnott said.

"In this day and age, when it's dog eat dog, to find a company like this is just amazing."

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