Plot of Gold!

Half-acre bought for £1,000 11 years ago now worth £3.5m

WILY Mark Guard has sold a plot of land for £3.5million - after paying a measly £1,000 for it.

Mark, 41, scraped together the cash for the land 11 years ago when he was on the dole. Now he has made a 350,000 per cent profit after it was snapped up by a house-building firm.

Mark, who grew up on a council estate in Carlisle, rented a flat in a house on the land after moving to Guildford, Surrey, to try his luck down south.

When the owner of the plot decided to sell the freehold because he was fed-up with renovating the building Mark pounced. Despite not having a job and living on housing benefit, he managed to raise £1,000 for the land the building was on plus another half acre around it.

Mark said last night: "It's amazing. I just decided to go self-employed and set up a property development business.

"It's been so successful that I'm considering leaving the country for tax reasons."

Banner Homes has now bought the land around the house for a development of 14 homes worth more than £6million in total. Mark also made a few more shrewd investments. He bought the flat he rented in the house, paying £40,000. It is now worth £280,000. Eventually he also bought the four other flats in the block. They are now owned by judges and lawyers.

And a garage on the land has been converted into a cottage worth £350,000. Mark has headed back north, buying himself a manor house in Brampton, Cumbria. He said: "I'm from a council estate in the north of England and now my neighbours are multimillionaires and some of the cream of British society."

Mark's land was sold by Savills estate agents.

Their head of residential development Jonathan Beach, said: "The Surrey commuter belt has always sustained high property values.

"Back gardens of substantial properties like this one are now being redeveloped, adding huge value to property assets.", 18.02.2006

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