Trading standards quiz Eastbourne stonemason over undelivered gravestones

Lee Fouracres
Lee Fouracres

An Eastbourne stonemason is being investigated by East Sussex trading standards after being accused of failing to deliver gravestones.

Lee Fouracres, who traded as Eastbourne Marble and Granite Ltd, is accused of letting down a number of bereaved families by taking their money but not delivering goods.

Mr Fouracres denied any wrongdoing and said he had hundreds of happy clients when he was featured on the BBC South East Inside Out programme on Monday night.

The programme showed Debbie Smith, who said Mr Fouracres was paid £1,000 and he said it would take about three months to produce a headstone for her mother Winifred’s grave. But the grave had no headstone for more than a year after her death.

Mrs Smith said she asked for a refund, but Mr Fouracres did not respond.

She said she had to find another company, and pay again.

Ray Fry, 75, paid Mr Fouracres a £1,000 deposit in August 2011 for a headstone after his wife Billie died. Eight months later, the gravestone still had not been erected. Mr Fry died in April 2012.

War veteran Joe Williams said Mr Fouracres failed to deliver a memorial to lost Bomber Command airmen at Beachy Head.

In 2010, having received enough donations from the public, he asked Mr Fouracres to produce a large granite memorial to more than 55,000 airmen who died.

He paid £7,000 and Mr Fouracres did some preparation work, sent some documents and eventually laid the foundations and base for the memorial.

Mr Fouracres was paid an additional £1,800 but did not follow the plans and the Bomber Command Tribute Beachy Head Committee was unhappy with what he had done.

Legal action was taken and a judge at Northampton County Court ordered Mr Fouracres to pay £7,900 and £245 costs in October 2012, which has yet to be paid.

The Bomber Command tribute was eventually put in place at Beachy Head after Mr Williams used his personal savings to cover the money he lost so another stonemason could finish the job.

Speaking to the BBC from his workshop at Westham, Mr Fouracres said he still had Mrs Martin’s headstone because the family had refused to pay for it. Mrs Martin said they were never asked for the balance.

Mr Fouracres said he was out of pocket because he paid for all the materials.

However, the BBC has spoken to his supplier, who has no record of the order.

Mr Fouracres blamed the Bomber Command Tribute Beachy Head Committee for the delays to that memorial, saying members could not decide on designs and did not provide him with them on time.

He said the conditions at Beachy Head made it difficult to carry out the work, and claimed he did not know about the county court claim against him, or he would have defended it.

He did admit to ignoring the committee because they were visiting on a daily basis.

He said he refused to do any more work because they paid £1,800 into the wrong bank account, but the BBC checked with the bank which said it was paid into his account.

“I’ve done nothing wrong,” Mr Fouracres said.

“My only fault, as an individual, is perhaps a slight bit of lack of organisation from time to time. If that makes me a bad man then so be it. But I am not a crook.”

The Herald was unable to contact Mr Fouracres.