A Tayside woman told a court her property was left in a “mess” after she paid an allegedly fraudulent tradesman £5,000 to carry out work.
Arbroath resident Joan Seal, 59, was giving evidence on the third day of the trial of Norman Hughes, who is accused of defrauding six residents across Tayside out of £61,570 between 2014 and 2016.
Hughes, 36, of Abbey Road in Scone, denies six charges of failing to complete work and carrying out work in a “grossly negligent manner” in Dundee, Longforgan, Blairgowrie and Arbroath.
Ms Seal told Dundee Sheriff Court Hughes had carried out £5,000 worth of work to a path and courtyard at the rear and side of her home in Springfield Terrace in June 2016.
However, she said after the first bout of heavy rain, the resin-bound surfacing started to “break up” and “lift”, despite guarantees from Hughes that the treatment would last around 10 years.
The jury was shown images of the property taken in 2017 which Ms Seal claimed showed damage caused by “ponding” — described as puddles of water accumulating.
She said: “It’s terrible now.
“It’s black where it has been ponding.
“I have weeds growing through.”
She added: “It’s just a mess.
“It’s lifting and there are holes.
“I was told by him (Hughes) that it would not pond.”
She also claimed a number of other issues had been caused by Hughes’ work, including manholes partially blocked by the new layer of resin.
Ms Seal said she contacted Hughes about the problems but he did not return any of her calls, leading her to post on Facebook to warn other people about what happened.
Ms Seal rejected suggestions by the defence that she had opted for a cheaper technique to treat the ground before the resin was laid.
Another witness Robert Ritchie, said he paid £8,800 in May 2016 for Hughes to carry out roof repairs to his Longforgan home.
He said shortly after it was completed a few loose slates began to come away from the property — a converted station house.
Mr Ritchie said Hughes returned a “couple of times” to fix the issues but then “rubbered” his wife’s calls after the couple realised the problems were persisting.
The court also heard claims Hughes had promised to fix a dip in the roof before later stating he couldn’t do so because it was an “old building”.
Before proceedings began, the defence had asked Sheriff Alistair Carmichael to consider imposing a Section 4 order under the Contempt of Court Act 1981 to postpone reporting until after the trial is completed.
The defence agent claimed a number of reports in the local press were “prejudicial” to proceedings.
The request was refused by Sheriff Carmichael.