Pub’s six month water bill? That will be �200k please!

martlesham heath: When a bill drops through the letter box, most of us dread the size of the demand.

But one Martlesham Heath pub owner nearly fainted when she read the number staring back at her.

Margaret Barrett, who owns the Douglas Bader pub with husband John, was shocked to see that their six-monthly water bill came to a staggering �198,869.

“You could buy a whole house with that much,” she said.

“It made me do a double, even triple take.

“When you see that many numbers it is difficult to take in straight away.

“It was ridiculously high.

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“I couldn’t believe it – I know we have been busy over the summer but not that busy.

“Normally the bill is around �1,200 for six months. It was a bit of a shock.”

After examining the bill from Anglian Water, Mrs Barrett realised the company had also informed her they would be increasing her monthly direct debit payment to �16,657.

“If we had been on holiday and the money had actually left the business account, we could have been in real trouble,” she added.

“We have laughed about it since but it does have a serious side.

“If that bill had been sent to an elderly person they may have thought they had left their water running, it would have been a big shock.

“I don’t see how they can let these bills be sent out.”

Mrs Barrett phoned the water company on Friday to explain the problem. Anglian Water said it was the result of a fault on the pub’s water meter, which had failed to reset itself correctly.

Sara Rowland of Anglian Water apologised for the mistake saying the bill should never have been sent out. She added: “We do have systems in place to check unusually high bills. We are terribly sorry this did get sent out, we should have spotted it sooner.”

n Has something similar happened to you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail