Published: 06:00, 09 January 2020
| Updated: 08:49, 10 January 2020
Ditton-based tradesman Chris Hook has come under fire after claims he ignored customers, fed them excuses and never completed projects.
He has traded under several business names including Trigon Property Care, Aylesford Properties and Combined Electrical and Security Projects, and former customers believe he changes the names of his companies to avoid paying people back.
One of his disgruntled customers, Shelley Weeks,has warned people not to use his services.
After her husband died of leukaemia in 2013, the 43-year-old used money left to her from his pension to pay for the works.
Instead of the planned single-storey extension, she has been left with a small wall and very little room in the garden for her eight-year-old son Olly to play in.
Since taking to social media in November, she has received messages from people telling similar stories.
One less-than-pleased customer was Dame Kelly Holmes, who paid Mr Hook to work on her home in Hildenborough.
The Olympic gold medallist was left empty-handed when he failed to finish the job.
Despite this, other customers said Hook uses a picture of himself with the athlete as part of his pitch to lure in new prospective clients.
Dame Kelly said: “I have had issues with Chris Hook in the past and did lose some money although I realise it is no way near what others have lost.
"My main concern is he should be stopped from being able to close one company and start another as he has taken people’s hard-earned money in good faith and should be named as a rogue trader."
Grandparents Cheryl and Peter Saville also got in touch with Mrs Weeks after they read her story.
They too were shown pictures of him and Dame Kelly Holmes and work he had done for her.
The couple from Borstal say they were charmed by the friendly facade of Mr Hook but were left with sleepless nights, thousands of pounds down, and say they were even threatened since they handed cash over in August 2018.
Cheryl, 67, said: "I don't know how he sleeps at night, constantly doing this to trusting people."
He was due to start on a new conservatory in September 2018 but he called on the day to say his mother was ill and in hospital.
Mrs Saville said: "I said to him that's okay these things happen, then a few days before the next job we rang to check if everything was okay, he said his daughter was unwell, I thought 'here we go'.
"Then he offered to do it just before Christmas, I told him to put it off until January, he knew I had all my children and grandchildren around over the holidays.
"When we called in January he asked us to put it off for another month."
The couple, their five children and nine grandchildren are at a loss on what to do.
Mrs Saville added: "We're just ordinary people, we don't want to spend good money after bad trying to get it back.
"We've got a new conservatory but the whole thing has been really upsetting..." Cheryl Saville
"You hear about these things and think you'd never fall for it but we did."
Mrs Saville claims when her 70-year-old husband confronted Mr Hook, he threatened to send his son-in-law after the couple.
Carl Buck, of Pear Tree Avenue, Ditton, was left thousands of pounds out of pocket eight years ago when he helped out Mr Hook with a flat refurbishment in London and rewired and replumbed his house.
The 46-year-old, who owns Communication, Power and Security Limited, cut ties with his former friend after he failed to pay him back for the work.
To try and retrieve the money, he paid debt collectors to recover the £30,000 he was owed.
Mr Hook began to pay it back in monthly £1,000 instalments, but after eight months the payments stopped, and Mr Buck was forced to write off the debt.
The subcontractor said: "Our accountant said we would be spending good money on bad debt. He gives our industry a bad name. We have been going since 2005 and we have never done this."
The father-of-one and his wife had to sell their home and use the equity to pay other tradesmen he had contracted to work for Mr Hook.
He said: "He nearly sent us down. He has got no morals. I've learned there are no mates in business and to check your friends before you work for them."
Mr Buck has now cut all ties with the builder and refuses to work with any companies that associate with him.
He added: "It is the only way you can send a message about him."
Another elderly couple were left without access to their front door for more than a year after work on their front porch was never finished.
Stephen Bennett’s mother and father-in-law, who are both in their 80s and do not wish to be named, paid Mr Hook more than £10,000 to build a front porch and downstairs toilet at their home in Strood in January 2018.
Work began in July that year but the builder often wouldn't show up when arranged and would tell the couple that one of his family members was ill.
Mr Bennett, 31, of Cedar Road, Strood, said: "There were always delays and things getting in the way of work getting started. He constantly gave excuses."
Mr Bennett's mother-in-law, who has limited mobility, and her husband, have been forced to exit their home from the back door for more than a year because Mr Hook left a foot of brick wall outside where he had started work and didn't finish the estimated £13,000 project.
Mr Hook has not been in contact with them since they last saw him in summer.
The grandparents had to pay a further £4,000 for the porch to be fixed and for work on their toilet to be finished.
To pay for the work, which was organised by their son-in-law, they had to use the money they had been saving up to buy a new car.
The new contractors began working at their home just before Christmas and estimate it should be completed by the end of January.
Mr Bennett realised his family might have been scammed when he heard about Shelley Week's experience detailing her experience with the tradesman.
He added: "Since Shelley's KentOnline article he has gone into hiding."
Mr Hook declined to comment when contacted by KentOnline.
More by this authorLydia Catling