Blackburn: Pensioner left with ruined garden after paying £3,250

A DISABLED pensioner has been left with his garden destroyed after paying £3250 to gardeners who never returned to finish their work.

William Spence, 80-years-old of Ribblesdale Place in Blackburn, first hired the apparently Bury-based company Birches Gardening Services in February, since his fractured spine has left him unable to do his own gardening.

However, after paying the money, the gardeners simple dug up Mr Spence’s garden and disappeared, with Mr Spence since discovering that the van the gardeners had arrived in has no tax or insurance.

He said: “I had to take a bank loan to be able to afford it and now I can’t get anyone reliable to fix it, its a nightmare!”

He added: “These people are getting away with scamming OAPs and there must be thousands and thousands of people in the same boat.

“I’m awake at night thinking about it, these firms need stopping!”

The Westmorland Gazette:

Mr Spence’s garden 

Photographs supplied by Mr Spence and his son Craig show the garden overrun with rubble, debris and plastic sheets left there by the gardeners.

Mr Spence said: “I could cry when I look at the mess they’ve made.”

Mr Spence’s case come not long after a similar incident in Blackburn in which 74-year-old Carol Shepherd was left with a ruined garden after paying £1,500 to gardeners who never returned to finish their work.

In Mrs Shepherd’s case, the workmen also dug up her garden after receiving half of their fee upfront but did not return the next day to finish the work or complete the relevant documents.

Much like Mrs Shepherd, Mr Spence and his family hope to be able to warn others against falling victim in the same way.

However he and his son’s attempts to trace the company have proved difficult.

Despite having caught the van on CCTV, the fact that it has no registration or insurance and the fact that they do not have an address for the company have made them hard to trace.

Meanwhile, the only contact detail left by the company is an unrecognised phone number.

Mr Spence has reported the matter to the police who have confirmed that it is a civil matter and that trading standards will have to take the case on.

Blackburn with Darwen Trading Standards Service meanwhile have confirmed that they are aware of the issue and have been in touch with Mr Spence.

They are currently investigating the matter and have encouraged members of the public who may have any information to email

The Westmorland Gazette | North Lancs