Couple feel unsafe after British Gas wrongly broke into home over unpaid bill

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A couple claim a British Gas worker and two debt collectors mistakenly broke into their address over an unpaid gas bill.

Dox Docherty and his wife said the incident has left them unable to feel safe indoors – and, to make matters worse, their property doesn't even have a gas supply.

The couple, who own the building in Langley Moor, County Durham, rent half of it out as flats and live in the other half themselves.

READ MORE: British Gas customer 'charged £2.4k for daily energy use' after smart meter error

They added that on Wednesday, June 8 entry was forced in order to remove a gas meter and install a prepayment meter because of an outstanding bill.

"My wife came out and saw three men leaving so she asked them what they were doing," said Dox.

"They said they had just broken into the house by picking the lock so they could remove a meter from a flat in the building."

This is something energy companies are permitted to do if someone can't or wont pay them what they owe – and installing a prepayment meter means that, from then on, the debtor can only use what's been paid for in advance.

"But we have no gas or meter in that house and haven't had any for at least 30 years," he told The Mirror.

"They had no warrant, rather a piece of paper which said they had applied for a warrant. But, when we asked, British Gas couldn't provide a warrant even though they said one had been issued."

The incident has left the couple, who have two children, feeling anxious in their own home.

Dox said: "We can't sleep. I'm up in the early hours and am looking out the window every single time we hear a car door slam.

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"We just can't relax at all, it's just awful. My wife was really shaken up and, even with the front door locked, we no longer feels safe in our own home."

A British Gas spokesperson said: "We’ve spoken to Mrs Docherty to tell her we are very sorry for what has happened. There was an address mix-up of the flats and this led to a visit that was meant for another household.

"We’ve amended our records to ensure this doesn’t happen again and will be offering them compensation for the distress this has caused."

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