2 Australian Workmen Flee Excavation Bungle

By: Rod McGuirk - AP Writer
By: Rod McGuirk - AP Writer

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - Two workmen who excavated the wrong front yard in Australia's eastern city of Brisbane fled after realizing their error, the home owner said on Thursday.

The men had used a backhoe to dig up turf, top soil inches (centimeters) deep, concrete garden edges and 10 palm trees on Wednesday morning, causing 20,000 Australian dollars ($18,000) damage, home owner Peter Collard said.

Collard, who is selling the house, said his real estate agent found the pair at work and was told they had instructions to clear every tree.

Collard suspected they were digging a swimming pool and had the wrong address.

"The first I heard of it was when my agent rang me and said: 'There's someone digging your yard up. You'd better rush home,"' Collard told Nine Network television from the ruins of his once well kept yard.

"I rushed home to find this huge mess and about $20,000 worth of damage," he said.

"These guys obviously knew there was something up and took off," he added.

Queensland state police spokeswoman Susan Grantham said the men loaded the backhoe on the back of their dump truck and fled without explanation.

"They just picked everything up and were gone," Grantham said.

Collard said his insurer had told him he was not covered for the damage.

He appealed to any house holder who had excavation work planned this week in his upscale suburb of Mackenzie to contact police if they can help identify the culprits.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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