A FARNBOROUGH landscape gardener, alleged to have charged the earth for a shoddy job, is exposed on television tomorrow evening (Friday).
Andrew Sharpe, who operates under the name Premier Landscaping and Maintenance, is featured in BBC One's "Rogue Traders" programme.
He is named and shamed by presenter Matt Allwright who commissioned him to design a garden, and then kept watch with the aid of a hidden camera.
The BBC were tipped off by Mrs Heather Welch after she and her husband Julian, who owns an IT company, paid Mr Sharpe £50,000 to redesign the garden of their six-bedroom home.
"We thought we were going to get the garden of our dreams," said Mrs Welch. "Instead it was money down the drain."
They employed Mr Sharpe after reading his advertisement which displayed the seals of approval of the Institute of Groundsmanship and the Guild of Mastercraftsmen.
On Monday the Institute told the Star that he had never been a member, and that he had been instructed to stop using its logo, and Guild spokeswoman Sian Spencer said he had been struck off their list.
Mr Sharpe, who runs the business from his home in Ship Lane, Farnborough, told Mr and Mrs Welch that their job would take three months.
Instead, according to Mrs Welch, he spent nine months working on it, before giving up and leaving the garden "like a building site".
The couple were so dismayed that they called in independent consultant Peter Killen, an arbitrator of the British Association of Landscape Industries, to assess the standard of work. He produced a damning report in which he detailed 15 areas where, in his opinion, the work had not been done to a staisfactory standard.
Paving stones around the existing swimming pool and for a new patio had been wrongly laid; block paving on the driveway had been put down unevenly and timber decking was of low quality with a short life expectancy.Mr Killen described the water feature and rock garden as "ugly", he found that a pair of gates would not open properly and the lawn had not been re-turfed satisfactorily.
Apart from the poor standard of the work, he estimated that such a job should have cost no more than £32,000.Mrs Welch said at her home in Medstead: "We thought that, by employing Mr Sharpe, everything would be taken out of our hands." Instead they were forced to employ other contractors, at a cost of a further £10,000, to relay the patio, to stop it causing rising damp in their home, and to strengthen the decking.
The couple are embarrassed that they were talked into paying the money in instalments before the job was finished."Mr Sharpe has the gift of the gab, and we just went along with him," added Mrs Welch.lMr. Sharpe contacted us on Tuesday evening after the Star had gone to press. His comments will be reported next week.