Pensioner fears eviction from childhood home for not giving up ‘unsafe’ power supply

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Ken May, 67, has lived in at the property in Standfield Gardens, Gateshead, since 1955. He uses a makeshift power supply to charge car batteries with a petrol generator and has gas canisters in his home.

Gateshead Council have threatened to evict Mr May over his power supply.

He was initially given 28 days to pack his bags over safety concerns about fuel storage, but has since been granted six months reprieve.

Gateshead Council also asked him to clear rubbish piled up both inside and outside his home.

Authorities say the only way for him to stay in the home he grew up in is to remove “unsafe items”, reconnect his electrical supply to the mains and let inspectors in to check.

The former Merchant Navy sailor had his electricity supply cut off in 2019 over concerns he was bypassing the system with his own power.

According to The Sun, 30 volunteers have helped Mr May decorate the walls and clear out his garden.

Some also bought him a new bed, a haircut at the barbers and a brand new set of clothes.

However, Mr May is still afraid he will be evicted by the council.

Speaking to the outlet, Mr May said: “I still have this eviction notice hanging over my head.

“I am happy to try my best to reconnect to the mains electricity but I don’t see why I should lose my petrol generator.

“What I am hoping to do is to fuse the mains supply with my homemade supply.

“Essentially, I only need 50 watts to power my whole house.”

Mr May then claimed he is “not doing anything wrong”, and accused the council of “having no legal right to force me to remove the power supply”.

He added: “The council have threatened to kick me out. It’s an awful situation to be in.

“They said they will consider letting me stay if all the provisions are met to their satisfaction. But ‘consider’ is the key word there.

“I would be absolutely devastated if I had to leave. I’ve lived here since 1955 for a reason, I like it here.

“I’ve been around the world and I love living in Wardley. I have a right to stay in Standfield Gardens.

“If a liar tells you that you have six months, how long do you really have?

“I think the main issue is the council want me to tidy it up so they don’t have to pay for it themselves if someone else moves in.”

In a letter sent to Mr May on October 21, Gateshead Council confirmed they “will not apply for a warrant of possession for the next six months”.

The letter said: “If we are satisfied that the property is in a safe and acceptable state when we reach six months, and you have demonstrated a commitment to maintain it in that condition, we will consider whether we would agree to an application to vary the possession order.”

Gateshead Council told the Mirror the “last resort” of eviction is used after “all other options” have been explored.

The Council said: “We have a duty to keep tenants and their neighbours safe.

“Any legal action is always viewed as a very last resort and only taken when all other options have been fully explored with customers.

“We keep in regular contact with customers and we always offer support before contemplating any action.

“We make customers fully aware of the steps they should take in order to keep their property safe and we also advise them in a lot of detail how they can avoid the need for any form of action.”

Express.co.uk has contacted Gateshead Council for comment.

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