Gas cut off because Leek house is 'cluttered'
ANGRY David Oultram has been left without gas for more than a week – after engineers claimed they could not work in his cluttered home.
The unemployed 56-year-old believes Moorlands Housing has put his life at risk by denying him heating and hot water as temperatures dip.
But the social landlord says its engineers were unable to carry out essential servicing of Mr Oultram's boiler – because his Leek home was cluttered with belongings.
Health and safety rules meant they had to cut off the gas supply last Monday until the service could be carried out.
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But furious Mr Oultram, who suffers from arthritis and sciatica, believes the engineers could have worked around the clutter and should not have turned off his gas.
Mr Oultram, who lives in Wardle Crescent, said: "My mother and sister both died a couple of years ago, and they left me their belongings, and I have a lot of things in boxes and bags that have built up over the years.
"But there was enough room for them to do their work. I used to work as a painter and decorator and I sometimes had to work in a cupboard where you couldn't swing a cat.
"I think these gas engineers were just being awkward."
Mr Oultram has been left without the use of two gas fires, a cooker and a boiler since his gas supply was cut off.
An engineer returned yesterday and while his gas has not been reconnected, he has been left with four electric heaters as a stopgap measure.
Mr Oultram added: "I've been spending most of my time in bed because that's the warmest part of the house. I can't cook any food so I'm surviving on cold sandwiches at the moment.
"I've got my coat on all the time.
"They say my gas fires need replacing because they're too old, but that could take another two weeks. I could have frozen to death by then."
Nick Grubb, head of Moorlands Housing, insisted the gas engineers were prevented from doing their work.
He said: "We are legally obliged to undertake gas servicing in all of our properties once a year.
"When we attended Mr Oultram's property last week, we were unable to access the appliances due to a very large amount of Mr Oultram's belongings causing a significant obstruction which made servicing very difficult and posed a potential risk to the engineers.
"We informed Mr Oultram that we were unable to undertake the gas servicing and would return when we were able to gain access to the appliance.
"For health and safety reasons we were advised to suspend the supply pending Mr Oultram clearing the area so that we could safely service the boiler."