Do-It-Yourself

5 July 2010
Have-a-go ‘suppliers’ have been causing a headache for local authorities recently. First, a man in Ramsgate got bored of waiting for Kent County Council to fill in the big pothole in the road outside his house, so did it himself – billing the authority for materials and labour. Peter Manning told the BBC he had done the council a favour. “The hole was about a foot deep before. I cleaned it out and filled it up. “I was a bit indignant and frustrated,
so I thought I’d send the council a bill.” Kent council expressed something less than delight at this impromptu contracting arrangement, and won’t be paying the invoice. In a statement it said: “This action is illegal and dangerous. Kent Highway Services does not approve.” Illegal and dangerous are two words that come to mind in the case of a tenant who left Birmingham City Council with a £20,000 bill – albeit not an official invoice like Manning’s – for repairs to his flat. Darren Caprani’s actions might have been with good intentions, but his attempts at “home improvement” left his flat without walls and ceilings, and with all the wiring exposed. Council officers became aware of the DIY disaster only when they accompanied bailiffs to Caprani’s home in March last year, after he fell behind with his rent. He has since been handed a suspended prison sentence for criminal damage.
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