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to accuse builders of stealing without proof?

(27 Posts)
goodnightdarthvader1 Thu 19-Nov-15 16:46:05

We've had a plethora of builders in the house for the last 3 weeks - carpenters, electricians, plumbers. Today it was the turn of some window fitters. The previous contractors have been lovely and considerate, no complaints, but the blokes today:

- I came home at lunchtime to the front door wide open, in the pissing rain, no one about
- The downstairs STUNK of cigarette smoke, so they'd obviously been smoking outside with the front door open, or inside
- When I went to put the bin and some small electricals out for recycling, one of the electricals (an old laptop) was gone! There was a box with an old car stereo that had bits pulled out of it, and some stuff that was behind the bins was on top of the bin, so I know someone had a good old rummage. The electricals were stored in our porch - but not everything in our porch is destined for the bin, so whoever took it was stealing, in my book.

No proof at all it was them, but our porch is on the side of our house, pretty secluded, so you'd have to know the stuff was there to take it. We leave things out there all the time (for the last 5 years) and nothing has ever gone missing.

WIBU to call the project manager and have a moan? Or do I need to swallow it and move on? Those particular blokes won't be coming back (their job is done), so I can accept if I need to let it go.

TimeToMuskUp Thu 19-Nov-15 17:00:09

I think if it's something you were going to throw out anyway it doesn't matter too much. If they'd been through your pant drawer it would be different but junk is junk and possibly one of them needed something you didn't want. Think on it as a good deed done.

GnomeDePlume Thu 19-Nov-15 17:00:58

YWBU to accuse however YWNBU to raise it with the project manager to say that stuff in the porch is not to be rummaged through.

However, having done various recycling projects I can tell you that the local rag and bone men have some sort of telepathic ability to just know when there may be some unconsidered trifles to be snapped up.

DH learned quickly to put all the metal items next to the skip rather than in it to stop the skip being half emptied to be rootled through.

londonrach Thu 19-Nov-15 17:03:41

Op my only concern is did you put a hammer through the laptops hard drive before you put it for recycling. But as you put doen it was junk for recycling. They should have asked though. However i would complain but about the smoking!

RealityCheque Thu 19-Nov-15 17:20:10

Wow. "Don't complain about theft because they might have needed it"?

Fuck that.

goodnightdarthvader1 Thu 19-Nov-15 17:26:36

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have minded them having it - but it would be nice to be asked! I would never just take things that don't belong to me. In his youth my DH used to root through skips - I could never do that blush

OurBlanche Thu 19-Nov-15 17:31:17

Call the project manager, urgently.

a) your house was left insecure
b) they were smoking on site, in a way that filled your home with their smoke
c) your belongings were rifled through

He must know or he cannot raise it with them or ensure he doesn't inflict them on others.

MrsFlorrick Thu 19-Nov-15 17:32:51

I'd say they took it. However it may not have been with stealing in mind. It's possible they assumed you didn't want it as it was in the porch. Or they may just have been stealing. Do check the rest of your house!

I'd mention it to their project manager but without wild accusations. Just state what was taken and that it wasn't rubbish it was stuff you wanted/needed. And mention the smoking. Not nice. And leaving the front door open. That's probably their biggest crime leaving your home unsecured. That would send me over the edge.

KingJoffreyLikesJaffaCakes Thu 19-Nov-15 17:36:14

and possibly one of them needed something you didn't want

Then you ask, surely?

"Are you throwing this away? May I have it?"


Witchend Thu 19-Nov-15 17:44:22

I would approach it much more along the lines of "the house was left unsecured and while it was unsecured a laptop was taken from the porch."
Factual, and if he has one who has form for that he cab draw his own conclusions

goodnightdarthvader1 Thu 19-Nov-15 17:47:28

I've just discovered an expense torch is missing angry

Thanks all. Will approach matter of factly. I've called the project manager but he's not answered, so left a neutral message asking him to call back. Will update!

VulcanWoman Thu 19-Nov-15 17:49:44

Not sure if I've missed something but the stuff was by the bins ie rubbish, who cares who took it, it was rubbish. The smoke, mess/dirt and door open, that's builders for you.

SiegeofEnnis Thu 19-Nov-15 17:52:47

Yes, the issue for me would be that your house was left with the door open and unlocked, so that potentially items were burgled. Was the torch in the porch with the junk, or inside the house?

goodnightdarthvader1 Thu 19-Nov-15 17:54:08

Torch was in the hallway, definitely not junk!

goodnightdarthvader1 Thu 19-Nov-15 17:54:36

Ennis, as I said, not ALL the stuff in the porch is junk. Yes, it was likely to be, but it wasn't guaranteed. They should have asked!

goodnightdarthvader1 Thu 19-Nov-15 17:55:13

Sorry, not Ennis, Vulcan!

donajimena Thu 19-Nov-15 18:02:46

One of my contractors nicked something. I just knew he did.. it was awkward as the client raised it and whilst no one could prove he did it I did the decent thing and reimbursed for the items. I'm so glad he raised it. Even though I was blush.
The fact that the door was left open is not a good thing but makes it easier to say that the property was insecure and items have gone. You are not pointing the finger then.
I never used that contractor again so while he may have got a tenner for the item second hand he lost ££££ in future work.

KingJoffreyLikesJaffaCakes Thu 19-Nov-15 18:15:48

I've just discovered an expense torch is missing

We had removal men try to steal a torch from our porch. Must be a thing.

DP was watching him like this: hmm And the removal man handed it to him saying, "Oh, this is yours!"


People can be cunts. I know it's a teeny minority but you really can't leave people alone in your house...

Daffodil90 Thu 19-Nov-15 18:19:11

Very interested to know what the project manager has to say about it! I would assume he's used these guys before on other projects.

I'd be livid about the front door being left open and tbh equally about the smoking (I can't stand the smell) - if no-one was present on the premises while the door was wide open and a thieving opportunist came along you wouldn't have a leg to stand on with house/contents insurance. TVs/computers/jewellery etc all could have gone, not just the items in the porch.

Shocking behaviour on their part.

VulcanWoman Thu 19-Nov-15 18:27:21

I thought the laptop was by the bin, sorry. I have a porch, it is covered but open to the elements, is yours an indoor enclosed porch, if so, yes they shouldn't have taken it. When I've had the builders in I put portable valuable stuff away, you never know, doors do get left open when they're in and out all the time.

goodnightdarthvader1 Fri 20-Nov-15 20:46:35

Update for anyone interested: the roofers are saying one of the carpenters told them that anything by the bins was rubbish and up for grabs. I don't believe this because the carpenter in question has been lovely, polite and respectful for the last 3 weeks. I doubt he'd take it upon himself to say that.

Also, as one of the carpenters pointed out to the business director, that doesn't explain the missing torch (which was in the hallway).

I have heard all this secondhand from the carpenter - neither the project manager nor the director have been in touch with me directly, which I think is a bit mean. Even just a "we're looking into this" would have been nice. hmm

Brioche201 Fri 20-Nov-15 21:31:51

It was rubbish, what's your problem? Re-using is better than recycling

GloGirl Fri 20-Nov-15 22:03:21

We've generally had good workmen in but I have definitely found that anything that looks like it is vaguely 'diy' related will be appropriated and if not nicked will be utilised so that they ruin what you have rather than their own. Ladders, buckets, torches, hoovers, tools. I try and keep everything like that out of the way.

goodnightdarthvader1 Fri 20-Nov-15 22:28:26

Brioche, firstly, my £17 torch wasn't rubbish. Secondly, they didn't KNOW the laptop was due to be recycled, and it's nice to be asked before people walk off with your stuff. What if I wanted to give it to a specific charity rather than some random builder?

VulcanWoman Fri 20-Nov-15 22:29:39

Yeah, ruined my dustpan and brush.

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