A VULNERABLE Solihull pensioner returned from hospital to find a bill for £216 after West Midlands Police broke into his home.
Alan Evans, aged 71, was rushed to Heartlands Hospital on April 6 after falling dangerously ill.
After being stabilised he underwent a four hour operation on April 12, the same day that police officers broke into his Banbrook Close home after being alerted by worried neighbours who hadn’t seen him about.
“The first I knew about it was in hospital when a nurse said there might be a delay in my discharge because of it,” said Alan.
“When it was time to leave some friends came to collect me but when we got to my house we couldn’t get in.
“The lock had been done in such a way then whenever I put the key in it simply wouldn’t turn.
“We spent two hours outside struggling with it and after all I’d been through all I wanted to do was get inside and sit in my armchair with a cup of tea, and I couldn’t.”
When the door was finally opened there on the doormat was a bill for £216 from a Norfolk-based security company and a card from West Midlands Police.
“It was so good of my neighbours to be concerned for me and due to the nature of my situation I didn’t have time to tell anyone where I was going,” said Alan.
“Similarly I’m grateful that the police ascertained that I was safe.”
However Alan felt it was a bit much to be expected to pay £216 when he hadn’t called the police out and hadn’t broken into his own house.
He was even more upset when a second demand to settle the bill came through the post.
“I contacted the MP Julian Knight about it but have so far not had a response.
“I also contacted my local councillor, Laura McCarthy and she was very concerned and said she would look into it.”
Coun McCarthy (Lib Dem, Elmdon) said: “This does strike me as unfair and I hope this doesn’t make neighbours feel they should do a welfare check because they don’t want someone to be stuck with a bill, particularly after all we’ve been through in the last two years with everyone looking out for each other.”
When the Solihull Observer contacted West Midlands Police, a spokesperson advised that Mr Evans should apply to the force’s legal department care of Police Headquarters, West Midlands Police Lloyd House, Colmore Circus Birmingham B4 6NQ where payment of the bill would be reviewed.