A STOURBRIDGE couple have described the nightmare they faced after an" incompetent" builder flooded part of their home with his shoddy work and also put them at risk of being gassed by carbon monoxide.

Geoff Rollason and his wife Angela decided to hire 55-year-old Scott Lewis who lived at the time in Wolverley to transform a lean-to garage at their home into a utility room complete with a shower, toilets and storage space.

But they were left nearly £17,000 out of pocket by the incompetence of Lewis who left them with a bill for £11,000 to put right all the problems he created.

Angela Rollason said: "It has been absolutely terrible, we have been through an awful time and all because of Scott Lewis."

Judge Simon Ward told the couple, who live in Parkfield Road, they were "unfortunate" to find Lewis on the internet when they were looking for a builder to improve their home.

He said their experience in taking on Lewis was clearly a "nightmare" as he stressed Lewis had not got the ability to recognise he was not able to carry out the work which was costing them a "great deal of money".

The judge said he could not impose a compensation order on Lewis to try and get their money back but he did suggest they might be able to take him to a civil court in the future when he was no longer a bankrupt.

"This went on for a long time and it is certainly something that crosses the custody threshold," he told Lewis at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

But in the end he gave Lewis a five month jail term suspended for two years and ordered him to obey a three month night time curfew.

Richard Francks, prosecuting, said Lewis had claimed to be a member of the Federation of Master Builders but that was no longer the case.

The Rollason's had agreed a fee of £35,000 for the work and they were staggering payments but then problems arose when Lewis started failing to turn up at the house on what was supposed to be a 10 week project.

Mr Rollason said he put down a patio that had to be lifted and relaid and they discovered he had not set up a drainage system to get ride of water from their former garage.

That meant the room was flooded with Lewis also working on the gas pipes and failing to bring in a registered gas fitter to seal and sign off the work.

Mrs Rollason added: "That meant carbon monoxide could have seeped into the property. It could have been much more serious but there is no doubting the fact that what he did was a nightmare."

She said they had been forced to pay out £11,000 to have his work corrected and there was still over £4,000 worth of remedial work to be done.

Mr Francks said the couple had been left well out of pocket by Lewis whose work was of a very poor standard.

He told the court: "He did the gas work himself when he was not qualified and his shoddy workmanship created a number of significant difficulties."

Sarah Allen, for Lewis, who now lives in High Heath, Whitchurch, Shropshire, said when the news of his poor

worksmanship broke it left him struggling for work and early this year he was declared bankrupt.

She maintained he had not been greedy but he "carried on regardless" after failing to recognise he had not got the skills to carry out the work.

Lewis, who admitted two charges of unfair trading, accepted his work involving the gas pipes had created a danger.