World News

Water company slammed for ‘insensitive’ letter after burst main flooded flat

A man has branded a water company "insensitive" after they sent him a card saying "welcome to your new home" after their burst water main had flooded his old flat.

Gas engineer Nik Ross lost £7,000 of his possessions after his ground-floor flat was submerged last month.

The 46-year-old was forced to leave his home, in Canterbury, Kent, and stay at two hotels before finally being rehoused by South East Water.

The same thing happened to Nik and his partner Georgina last year – leaving them unable to live in their own home for over five months, he said.

Mr Ross reacted with bemusement when a postcard from the company, which is responsible for the damaged pipe, emblazoned with the words "home sweet home" arrived over the weekend.

  • Daily Star's newsletter brings you the biggest and best stories – sign up today

He said: "My partner's reaction was to laugh at first because you'd think they'd have a note on our account to say not to send this.

"I also had a laugh until I read it and saw it said 'welcome to your new home' on the back', then the red mist started to descend.

"While we've got somewhere to go, it just doesn't feel like home. Is this a genuine mistake, a poor attempt at humour or are they taking the mick?

"For a start that's extremely insensitive. Is it a good idea to send this particular customer a welcome home postcard?"

A message on the back of the postcard reads: "I just wanted to send you a quick note to say congratulations on your new home and I do hope everything has gone smoothly."

Jenny Rhodes of South East Water has apologised for the blunder, adding that it was a "genuine mistake".

She said: "Usually when a customer moves into a new home we provide them with all the necessary information about South East Water and, as a courtesy, congratulate them on moving in with a card.

"Unfortunately it wasn't spotted that one of the new accounts was following the flooding and sending this was a genuine mistake on our part for which we are very sorry."

The water main burst close to the junction between Whitstable Road and University Road at about 4.30am on Tuesday, August 11.

Residents woke to the sound of murky liquid gushing down the hill from the faulty pipe, and 10 homes were left without running taps.

This was the second time Mr Ross' flat had been flooded after a main burst in the same spot.

Following last year's leak, he was moved to seven different holiday lets until he was able to move back into the property.

  • Prince Harry 'making bid for UK return in time for royal event six months after Megxit'

He said: "It's happened to us again, except worse. Last year was unfortunate – but this year they've got no excuse.

"The figure is close to £7,000 of lost items and property, including £697 of locksmith equipment.

"I've lost two days' work and I'm having to turn certain locksmith jobs down because I haven't got my equipment."

Ms Rhodes also confirmed that the firm had investigated a report of a leak in the area in May, but said that no evidence was found.

She said: "There was not enough water to sample and we had no further reports following our initial investigation.

"We're also aware of reports that water was pumped through the pipe too quickly, causing it to burst.

"This is not true and water was being pumped within our normal operating parameters."

Source: Read Full Article