'They're not taking safety seriously' - council refuse to reimburse grandmother for security door (From Times Series)
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Barnet Homes refuse to reimburse grandmother for security door at St Johnstone House, Woodside Park
A grandmother spent £500 on a security gate to deter burglars from targeting her building - only to be told it was unnecessary and she would not be reimbursed.
Elizabeth James, of St Johnstone House, Woodside Park, used her pension to pay for the new door after her neighbour, Maria Wood, was the victim of a “devastating” distraction burglar.
The 77-year-old is now locked in a row with housing association Barnet Homes as she feels they are “not taking safety seriously”.
She added: “It’s crazy, ridiculous and very unfair. I am disappointed - safety is of paramount importance but it doesn’t seem like they understand that.
“I feel very fobbed off. I spent that money in good faith and now I’ve been left severely out of pocket.
“I just don’t know what to do.”
Mrs Wood, 90, was asleep in her ground floor flat in November when rouge policemen woke her up, charged into her flat and stole her “treasured” jewelry in front of her.
Since then, elderly residents in the block have told Mrs James they are “living in fear” of another burglary.
The £500 she spent on the new gate was more than her monthly pension credits - and she is now struggling to pay her rent and by food.
She added: “I only did this to make sure everyone in the block is safe and now I can’t even afford to live this month. I’m angry at Barnet Homes.
“However, I don’t regret installing the gate. Protecting vulnerable and elderly residents is my priority. At least now everyone feels safe again.”
A statement from Barnet Homes said: “The block in question has a front entrance door with a security intercom system, and two rear doors that are exit only and subject to residents not leaving them open access cannot be gained at the rear of the block.
“The residents of this scheme have the additional security of a sheltered Scheme Officer who visits every weekday and all flats are fitted with a pull cord alarm system that connects directly to a control officer that residents can use to summon assistance if required.
“We don’t have any records of a conversation between Elizabeth James and a Housing Officer regarding granting of permission to put up a fence, however an Operational Inspector and a Housing Officer will visit the block this week to carry out an inspection of the newly erected fence.”
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