Beds, Herts & Bucks

Builder admits wrecking new homes in Buntingford with digger

Buntingford houses Image copyright Hertfordshire Constabulary
Image caption Five new houses belonging to McCarthy and Stone were damaged

A builder has admitted using a digger to wreck five newly built retirement homes in Hertfordshire.

Daniel Neagu, 31, was charged with criminal damage after he targeted the houses in Buntingford on 11 August.

The five homes, belonging to McCarthy & Stone Retirement Living, were worth approximately £800,000.

Neagu, of Athelstone Road in Harrow, north-west London, was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at St Albans Crown Court on 11 February.

He pleaded not guilty at a previous hearing but admitted one count of criminal damage on 15 January, police said.

External walls were torn out, leaving debris strewn across the gardens, the court heard earlier.

Image copyright Hertfordshire Constabulary
Image caption The homes were part of a retirement complex

Owners were due to move into the unoccupied bungalows within weeks, the building company said previously.

A McCarthy & Stone Retirement Living spokeswoman said: "The five affected properties at Royal Gardens in Buntingford were demolished last year, following inspections carried out by independent structural engineers in the days following the incident."

New residents will be moving into homes rebuilt on the site in "the next few months", she said, adding: "We are grateful to them and their families for their patience and understanding throughout."

McCarthy & Stone Retirement Living did not directly employ Neagu, who instead worked for a subcontractor.

Image copyright Hertfordshire Constabulary
Image caption The homes were situated on Ermine Street, Buntingford

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