Victims of a prolific cowboy builder ‘have nothing left’ after he swindled them out of thousands of pounds for botched jobs.

Lawrence Martin, owner of CLJ Roofing, snared several customers into paying thousands for building work – which he never completed.

The 36-year-old - now jailed for five years - charged Chrissie Bacon £44,000 for a garage conversion set to house her terminally ill father-in-law.

But Lawrence’s catalogue of mistakes and eventual abandonment of the work has left Chrissie, 52, with an incomplete house over two years on.

Her father-in-law has since passed and was unable to live out his final days with his family.

Daily Echo: The incomplete garage conversion The incomplete garage conversion (Image: Chrissie Bacon)

‘It was a very expensive and painful mistake, and this has been the worse time of our lives’, she said.

Chrissie, an accountant from Bracklesham Bay, employed Lawrence to undertake the conversion at the end of the summer in 2021.

What he said would take three weeks took him three extra months, until he stopped showing up completely.

Chrissie said: “During this time, dad’s health deteriorated. We hassled Lawrence more and more to complete the house, but he would not do so.

“It was obvious that we could not be together at Christmas.

“Our house was not safe or secure, there were open spaces where doors and windows should be.

“We even had stray cats walking into our house and fighting with our cat.”

Daily Echo: The mess left behind by Lawrence MartinThe mess left behind by Lawrence Martin (Image: Chrissie Bacon)

The rogue trader duped Chrissie and her husband Mark out of all their savings, with the pair having to remortgage to convert the garage.

They have since had to fork out an extra £46,000 to repair the incomplete work.

An additional £30,000 will need to be paid for the remaining remedial works.

Chrissie said: “We have lived here for 16 years, and this was meant to be our forever home.

“The house is still not complete, and we have not touched the drive or herb garden.

“I spent many weekends trying to clear the rubbish that Lawrence had left behind, I could not afford the rubbish clearance on top of everything else.”

Lawrence also duped thousands of pounds from Eastleigh resident Judith, who did not want her full name to be used.

The 62-year-old employed him in 2021 when her husband Peter required a wet room at home.

Daily Echo: The damage to Judith's homeThe damage to Judith's home (Image: Judith)

The pair used their savings of £32,500 for the work but have been left with damp, exposed pipes, and shoddy guttering.

Judith said: “My husband and I worked hard, we were ex-forces, and all we wanted was to do the house up so we could live comfortably.

“We have got nothing left, no savings, Lawrence took it all.

“Peter will never see the house finished and that makes me want to strangle the toerag.

“He is a liar and he has no conscience.”