Staff from Swindon company questioned by officers

This Is Wiltshire: A paving crew at work in Roundway Gardens, Devizes A paving crew at work in Roundway Gardens, Devizes

A GROUP of workmen were arrested after they gave their elderly customer a lift to withdraw the £7,000 she owed them for resurfacing her drive.

William Connors, who runs DriveForce Paving Limited of Swindon, and his employees were working on a pensioner’s driveway in Devizes when five police cars descended on the street to arrest them.

NatWest staff had alerted police after DriveForce Paving employees gave the woman a lift to Devizes Market Place last Thursday, and they were also concerned about the amount she was being billed.

But after questioning, the men were released without charge.

William said: “This was a shocking thing to have happened. It not only stopped us working but has affected our reputation as a company. I have contacted our solicitor about it.

“We were interrupted in our lawful work and kept in custody from 5pm to midnight. I think we are due an apology at least.”

Another member of the team from DriveForce, who did not want to give his name, said: “The police just came at us and arrested us. We were at the police station for hours, until midnight I think.

“We explained it was all a mistake and everyone was very happy with our work and eventually they believed us and let us go, but it was really worrying at the time.”

Pensioner Marjorie Rawlings, 80, was one of a number of householders in Roundway Gardens in Devizes to retain the services of DriveForce Paving to resurface her driveway with paving blocks.

Mrs Rawlings said: “I don’t drive any more and it costs me £8 return to get a taxi so they very kindly took me to the bank. The bill was £7,000 and something but the bank said they could only let me have £2,000 because they didn’t keep that amount of cash on hand.”

Mrs Rawlings’ request rang alarm bells at the bank and the cashier had rung the police who arrived with officers from Trading Standards.

Mrs Rawlings said: “They just swooped in and took them all away. I couldn’t believe it. I thought the work would not get done but they came back the next morning and finished off. I am very happy with what they’ve done. It is such an improvement on the way it looked before.”

Trading Standards officer John Devlin said Mrs Rawlings’ request for such a large quantity of cash and the fact that the workmen had taken her to the bank gave all the signs of something untoward.

He said: “Certainly there was a company undertaking work on several drives in the street, but all the residents we talked to were quite happy with the standard of the work and the price they were charged.”

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