A GREAT-GRAN was threatened with eviction from her council flat … because she owed the princely sum of THREE PENCE.
Kathleen Smith, 83, could hardly believe her eyes when she received a letter from Hyndburn Council telling her she was in arrears with her rent.
The stunned OAP was left in fear of losing her sheltered accommodation home in Franklin Ainsworth House, Great Harwood.
The letter, signed by Neighbourhood Housing Officer Mrs J Mulligan-Green, read: "I must advise you that your rent account is now £0.03 in arrears. You must clear these arrears within the next seven days. Otherwise a notice of seeking possession will be served.''
The letter then offered her the chance to clear the debt by instalments!
Kathleeen said: "I was worried they were going to evict me. It was very upsetting, especially for the sake of three pence. What could they take from my flat for that amount of money?
"You hear of people getting away with never paying their rent but I pay mine on time every week. It is an insult. I'm only just recovering from a bad fall I had on holiday a week ago so this was the last thing I needed."
She joked: "I was going to send them three coins taped to a card but my daughter-in-law insisted on paying by cheque. The money has now been paid so I've got a clean slate."
Her furious daughter-in-law, Maureen Smith, who runs the Plough pub in Great Harwood with husband Bob, said that she wrote a cheque to Hyndburn Council for the money owed.
She said: "It's crazy - it cost the council 20p just to send that letter. I laughed when I first saw it but it is not funny really. My mother-in-law was really upset. Someone suggested that we should pay it back at a penny a month, as the letter says we can pay by instalments if necessary. We even had a whip-round at the pub.
"We don't know why she owes three pence but the letter makes it sound like they are going to evict her - it isn't very nice."
Nigel Fenton, principal officer for tenant services at Hyndburn Council, said: "This is a genuine mistake. We are very sorry if we have caused Mrs Smith any distress and a formal letter of apology has been sent out today. We have already taken steps to ensure that this doesn't happen in the future."