A FED-up couple have cooked up a storm in protest after blundering workmen threw their dream kitchen away.
Julie Martin, 51, and her partner Kevin McKeith, 53, say they’ve been left £9,500 out of pocket after bespoke cupboards were removed from walls and left in their back yard before being taken away as rubbish.
Housing bosses say contractors FT Finley have apologised for the gaffe, which has left the couple now trying to sort out a new kitchen.
Their nightmare began when contractors working on behalf of South Tyneside Homes came in to carry out jobs in their terraced property in Westoe Road, South Shields, as part of improvements under the Decent Homes programme.
The couple had declined the offer of a new kitchen as they so loved their own, which was fitted five years ago, but still required a new bathroom and rewiring jobs to be done.
Ms Martin, 51, said: “We got our own kitchen put in about five years ago and we spent £9,500 on it.
“I love cooking and baking so I spend a lot of time in, and we wanted something that was going to last – that was meant to be our kitchen for life.
“We told the council that we didn’t want a new kitchen off them and were happy to keep the one we had. The workers needed to take the top cupboards off the walls to do the re-wiring.
“The story is that to make more room for themselves, they put the cupboards out in the back yard then another worker, who was going around collecting rubbish, came and took them away.
“It wasn’t until the next day that I started sorting through boxes and things in the kitchen and noticed they weren’t anywhere in the house.”
Ms Martin, a support worker for people with brain injuries, says she contacted housing bosses, who held their hands up and admitted fault.
She said: “They have accepted blame, but what I don’t understand is if they put the cupboards outside, they must have known they had to bring them back in when they were done, and if the cupboards were missing then why didn’t they say anything?”
Ms Martin says they have been told they can select a replacement kitchen as means of compensation but say they have yet to be offered one they feel is of the same quality or value to the units they lost.
A spokesman for South Tyneside Homes said: “This was a genuine mistake on behalf of the contractor, which has accepted responsibility and apologised for the error.
“The contractor has assured us they are working very hard to resolve the issue and have offered the tenant a range of options to try to progress this as quickly as possible.
“We are waiting to hear back from Mr McKeith to take this forward.”