Judge blasts gas meter rebel: ‘You are just being awkward’

David Hughes
David Hughes

A British Gas rebel who has racked up bills of £10,000 was described by a judge as “just being awkward” after he lost a 10-year meter row battle.

Former Royal Artillery gunner David Hughes, 58, has been locked in a war of letters, e mails and court hearings over access to his property.

The gas company wants to install a pre payment meter at his home on Annesley Avenue, Layton but Mr Hughes told District Judge Gary Garland sitting at Blackpool Magistrates Court: ”Forget that sort of meter, it does not suit the needs of a disabled person.

“I am registered blind and have hearing problems.

“Quite frankly British Gas can cut me off altogether and I will freeze to death with my sensory dog Jake and my partner, who is also disabled.

“They are not complying with the disability legislation and what they are going is inciting disablement hatred.”

The judge heard how Mr Hughes and his partner Wendy – who collapsed entering the hearing and had to have treatment from 999 paramedics called to the court – had not paid a fuel bill since 2006.

It resulted in him being taken to county court where British Gas got a judgement against him for £10,000.

The company supplies both gas and electricity to Mr Hughes and in court their barrister Georgina Hersh said the company had already knocked £1,800 off Mr Hughes’ bill because of his disabilities.

“The have bent over backwards to assist Mr Hughes,” she added.

Mr Hughes claimed he had not deliberately not paid but had merely withheld payment until British Gas met what he called his “disabled rights”.

His sight was affected after he was attacked in the street and he uses a large electric buggy to get around on.

Granting British Gas a warrant to enter the property, the judge said: “From what I understand the company have done their best to accommodate Mr Hughes. They just don’t have the kit to install what you want.

“If you just pay the gas bill – pay what you owe them they won’t go ahead.

“You are just being awkward and claim this is a matter of principle but principle is a food that can throttle you.

“I am surprised you were not cut off long before this.”

Mr Hughes said he would be appealing the decision to Crown Court.

Mr Hughes has previously appeared alongside his mother Mary in The Gazette complaining about the state of pavements.