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Builder denies wrecking newly built homes with digger

It is alleged Daniel Neagu acted without lawful excuse and was reckless as to whether the properties were destroyed or damaged.

A builder has pleaded not guilty to using a digger to cause up to £4 million of damage to a row of newly built retirement homes.

Daniel Neagu, 30, was charged with criminal damage after five houses belonging to McCarthy & Stone Retirement Living to the value of around £4 million were wrecked in Buntingford, Hertfordshire, on August 11.

Neagu pleaded not guilty to the charge during a preliminary hearing at St Albans Crown Court on Monday.

It is alleged he acted without lawful excuse and was reckless as to whether the properties were destroyed or damaged.

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Site staff inspect damaged properties in Buntingford (John Stillwell/PA)

A trial for Neagu, a Romanian national living in Athelstone Road, Harrow, north-west London, was set for St Albans Crown Court on February 4 2019.

He was remanded in custody.

Sitting on an estate still under construction, the homes in Ermine Street had external walls torn out, leaving debris littering their gardens.

A turquoise digger stood beside the devastation.

Neagu was not employed directly by McCarthy & Stone and was instead working for subcontractor Fenton, a McCarthy & Stone spokeswoman has said.

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