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'Stupid' bedroom tax sees tenant threaten to blow up house

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'Stupid' bedroom tax sees tenant threaten to blow up house

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing

'Stupid' bedroom tax sees tenant threaten to blow up house 'Stupid' bedroom tax sees tenant threaten to blow up house

A man facing eviction due to the bedroom tax has been arrested after threatening to blow up his social home.

Michael Hilton told bailiffs he would detonate the property in Church, East Lancashire if they tried to enter.

The 52-year-old was finally arrested after a three-hour stand-off with police, the Lancashire Telegraph reported.

Cops said they smelt petrol at the tenant’s home.

Social landlord Hyndburn Homes confirmed that it had taken action to repossess their tenant's home.

Mr Hilton has lived at the property for the last 30 years.

One of the tenant's sons, Johnny, and estranged wife watched the siege from behind a police cordon.

His son said: “I knew something like this was going to happen. He has been hounded to pay the bedroom tax since September last year.

“My dad has four children altogether and, sometimes, they stay here with him.

“I have even tried to speak to the council myself and try to sort it out. I called them last week and told them that my dad has mental health problems. He thinks he’s being persecuted.

“He has been driven to this and I think that he feels like he is making a stand for everyone that has been faced with the unfair bedroom tax. I am very worried about him.”

A neighbour said that he had warned the council that Mr Hilton had been stockpiling gas canisters in his garden.

The neighbour said: "It was terrifying. If his house went up, mine would have gone up. The worst thing is that I knew something like this was coming.”

Another neighbour said: “All of this because of that stupid bedroom tax.”

Nigel Fenton, managing director of Hyndburn Homes, said: “Any repossession of a tenant’s home is always an absolute last resort and would only happen after we have repeatedly attempted to resolve the issues and help them.

“We always try to support our tenants and assist them in any way that we can. We would always urge our tenants to discuss problems with us so that we can provide our support.

“Staff from Hyndburn Homes were at the scene and worked with the emergency services to ensure the safety of residents in the area.

“We have been made aware of gas cylinders at the rear of the property and we have been working with officers from the council to resolve this matter.”

An onlooker told the Lancashire Telegraph: “It’s the government, this. They are putting these taxes on vulnerable and poor people and look what happens.”

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