The Devil God’s Best Friend

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If you have any interest in: Ufology, Paranormal, Angling, Paganism, the Eco-system and general controversy then this may just be the place for you. I am a published author of books concerning these particular topics...

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Sunday, 8 April 2018

Curse of the Rip-Off Cowboy Gardeners

Cash-hungry cowboy gardeners are nothing new. As austerity bites deeper, garden work is an area that more than ever is ripe for manipulation by the less trustworthy.

Quotations for jobs, which are questionably low, frequently indicate that something is wrong.

The gardening cowboys, who are often untrained and uninsured, use every trick in the book to fleece home owners out of their hard-earned cash. It is often worth getting several quotations if there is a vast discrepancy in prices. Later add-on fees are not uncommon in the cowboy world. Some of these clowns have little understanding about how to professionally manage their staff. This failing is evident by the way in which their workers frequently leave after unusually short stays of employment.

Were YOU treated unfairly by a cowboy employer? 

Workers do have rights yet some are unaware of them. Have you had a dispute or been treated unfairly, via working for a cowboy firm?

For tree surgery, the Arboriculture Association has a list of approved contractors. 

Unlike the cowboys, responsible contractors pay an annual fee (having been meticulously vetted) and the association has a disputes resolution service. Nevertheless, even experienced tree operators can meet with tragedy.

‘The coroner has advised of the death of a tree surgeon on 23rd November 2016 and issued a ‘Report to prevent further deaths’ under Regulation 28 of the Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013. The deceased was an experienced tree surgeon. Whilst carrying out work the tree surgeon fell approximately 50ft from a conifer tree. The tree surgeon’s life line and flip line were not attached in correct positions, resulting in him being pulled from the tree.’

Therefore, if experienced tree workers can be killed, what chance do greedy, untrained/uninsured cowboys in their rusty vans have? They are a risk to consumers and also a risk to themselves.

It’s essential to ask (and see proof) that the worker in your garden is fully - trained and insured. If he is not then you may not see a penny in compensation if he accidentally drops a tree through your car, wall, patio or greenhouse etc.

UK Wildlife laws are properly considered by 'most' responsible contractors, yet the cowboy with his chainsaw wrongly thinks that they do not apply to him. To the rip-off gardener, wildlife is totally insignificant and simply an annoying hurdle in his way to gaining fast cash.

A nest full of robin, blackbird, thrush or chaffinch chicks splattered all over the ground is of no significance to the cowboy gardener with his big chainsaw, in his quest for your cash. 

The RSPB advises…. 

‘We recommend cutting hedges and trees is avoided between March and August as this is the main breeding season for nesting birds. It is an offence under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.’

Element Tree Care sensibly advises… 

‘As contractors it is our responsibility to ensure that work to trees and vegetation carried out within this period avoids any impact on nesting birds. This would be an infringement of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and in breach of The European Habitats Directive 1992/Nesting Birds Directive. Before any work is carried out within this season a thorough visual survey needs to be carried out to ensure there are no nesting birds present or that the intended work will not disturb any birds nesting near to the work site. During this season it should be assumed that nesting birds will be present and therefore it is the duty of the client and contractor to prove otherwise. Although the majority of the responsibility lies with the contractor it is important that as a client you are sympathetic to the laws behind disturbing nesting birds. This may result in work being postponed until all nesting birds have gone. It is also a common misconception that certain bird species are not protected under these laws. In fact all wild bird species are protected, as are any eggs and it is an offence to remove them from an unoccupied nest. The maximum penalty for each offence is a £5000 fine and up to six months imprisonment in the Magistrates court, and a £5000 fine and up to two years imprisonment in the Crown Court.’

Government regulations state… 

What you must not do

You’re breaking the law if you:

  • intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds
  • intentionally take, damage or destroy a wild bird’s nest while it’s being used or built
  • intentionally take or destroy a wild bird’s egg
  • possess, control or transport live or dead wild birds, or parts of them, or their eggs
  • sell wild birds or put them on display for sale
  • use prohibited methods to kill or take wild birds
Some birds, known as ‘schedule 1 birds’, eg barn owls, have extra legal protection. For these bird species it’s also an offence to do the following, either intentionally or by not taking enough care:
disturb them while they’re nesting, building a nest, in or near a nest that contains their young, disturb their dependent young.

You could get an unlimited fine and up to 6 months in prison for each offence if you’re found guilty.

What to do if you witness wildlife crime - Merseyside Police and Wildlife Crime … 

Moreover, reckless tree felling has a very steep price for the unwary fool as the following examples show.

Keith Smith fined £112k for illegally felling trees

Hotel owner ordered to pay £46,000 for ruining a dozen protected trees

Woman fined after felling trees in a bid to increase value of her Lake District home

See also 

Questions remain over the Kew Woods tree massacre… 

WACA misdirection and ignorance is now destroying Woodvale’s ecosystem!

Sefton Tree butchers ignore residents and councillors and go ahead with tree felling

Trees and the fragile wildlife that need them for survival are essential. Trees also provide a green lung for mankind, even in inner city areas. Protect them, they are precious.

Merseyside police

Consumers should beware of the rip-off cowboy gardener and make sure that they employ a genuine time-served professional with the relevant credentials and professional insurance. Having a truck and a bunch of power tools in a trailer is NO guarantee of expert professionalism in this quarter. Damaged property, additional hidden fees, botched or unfinished work etc, are widespread today and householder can only blame themselves when things go wrong if they have given jobs to the cowboy gardeners. 

The watchword for wise consumers must be, if in doubt get a real professional in and give the cowboy the boot today!

Pat Regan © 

See also

In some areas Trading standards officers have previously  reported a surge in cases of what has been dubbed ‘daylight shrubbery’. The gardening cowboys have only one thing in mind and that is your cash. Do not get caught out by these unprofessional rip - off merchants.

Sefton MBC Trading Standards Website 

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