Gassed-off! Times saves local cafe

Paula Roper with the multiple gas bills she has received...despite NOT being connected to the gas supply.
Paula Roper with the multiple gas bills she has received...despite NOT being connected to the gas supply.

BRITISH Gas have agreed to wipe out a bill for hundreds of pounds sent to a Swinton cafe... after the South Yorkshire Times revealed that the owners had NEVER used the gas supply!

Despite having a gas pipe clearly connected to NOTHING, furious business cousins, Ian and Pauline Roper, feared they may have to close the Food & Go cafe after British Gas sent bills totalling £612.

In addition, they claimed, the energy supplier threatened to charge him £300 to remove its faulty meter that supplied it with readings.

And, they said, British Gas sent a letter warning that if the bills were not paid they would put the matter in the hands of debt recovery specialists. But after we exposed the Ropers’ plight this week, British Gas agreed to:-

* Quash the outstanding bills

* Take out the meter for free, and

* Re-pay £90 for phone calls made to the company

Spokeswoman Sara Powell- Davies told the Times: “I am very sorry that it has taken us so long to resolve this issue.

“We have spoken to Mr Roper to apologise and have arranged for the meter to be removed, free of charge. We have also made a gesture of goodwill.”

Afterwards, Mr Roper said: “They phoned me up and said sorry, and admitted that it should never have happened.

“They said they would give me £90 back for phone calls I have made, to complain. They said the bills would be quashed and the meter would be taken out for nothing.

“I am very pleased, because it has been rumbling on for too long. It was a shame that it came to this, in that I had to go public with it.

“But it got the result, and I can’t thank the South Yorkshire Times enough.

“We have been struggling on for months with this, but now it’s been resolved at long last.”

He had previously said he may be forced into closing the business down, had the matter not been resolved.

But said on Tuesday: “Business is doing fine at the moment; we have a lot of happy customers and we will be able to continue.

“It has been a nightmare with British Gas, but we also receive our electric from them.

“And I must say this has restored a little bit of my faith in them.”