An elderly couple has been handed an antisocial behaviour warning after being accused of stealing tea, coffee and biscuits from a social club.
Andy Williams, 81, and his 73-year-old wife Maureen were taken aback by the council’s letter, which they say is rooted in a “pack of lies”.
The retired publicans moved into the senior living facility in Cranleigh, Surrey around eight years ago, before the tea and biscuits dispute arose in 2018.
Two years later, Maureen and a neighbour became involved in a verbal row over who was responsible for looking after the communal gardens.
Shortly afterwards, a council worker phoned Maureen to say a resident had accused her of being rude, reports Surrey Live.
Andy said: “That’s what started it. What a petty thing – it was two old women having a little tiff and you’d think World War Three had broken out.
“The ramifications of that were just unbelievable.”
He claims that they were even reported to the site manager for a noise disturbance coming from a neighbouring flat.
The couple then hired a solicitor to hand cease and desist letters to those thought to have been involved in the row.
In May, they received a letter from the council, saying a “range of reports” had been made “from several different tenants, visitors and staff relating to the use of threats, swearing, shouting, inappropriate comments, and intimidation”.
Andy was accused of being “rude, shouting and swearing, making threats and unkind comments of a personal nature to more than one tenant”.
The letter warned the council may take action against them if they failed to comply with the terms and conditions of their tenancy agreement, saying a continuation of this kind of behaviour could be deemed as harassment.
Andy strongly denies the accusations, branding them a “load of nonsense”.
He continued: “The only person I was rude to was the area manager who phoned up my wife and accused her, but I certainly didn’t swear.
“It’s a pack of lies from start to finish and it’s starting to affect Maureen mentally.
“For me, it would take more than something like this to affect me. I’m fortunate that I can cope with all of this and it doesn’t bother me.
“But we’re having our name blackened – it’s not true and it’s not right.”
The couple are now considering whether they should move to a bungalow away from the site, which has been offered to them as a potential solution.
A spokesperson for the local council said: “Waverley Borough Council does not comment on specific cases concerning our tenants.
“Where we have received complaints about a tenant, it is our practice to initially write to them to remind them of their obligations to comply with their Tenancy Agreement.
“In rare instances, where all our attempts to resolve the issues fail, we may offer one party the option of transferring to a new property.
“As with all those on the Housing Register, they will be offered a property that meets but does not exceed their assessed level of need.”