A PENSIONER fearful of catching coronavirus was threatened with court action after refusing to let a gas engineer into her home.

Patricia McBryde, who is self-isolating, received a strongly-worded letter from housing association Accent Group saying gas checks must be done urgently.

But the 68-year-old, of Ramsay Park in Barrow, had been told by the gas contractor that the work could wait until after June.

She said the letter warned her if she did not respond within seven days the case would be passed over to their legal team and there was a risk of court action.

Accent Group have now apologised and said the letter had been sent by mistake.

But Mrs McBryde is concerned this could be happening to some of her elderly neighbours in the sheltered housing.

“I am worried that I could be taken to court,” she said.

“This could be happening to my neighbours as well, and one has a pacemaker in.

“I am so annoyed as I did not have to have the gas engineer in at all as the work could have waited.

“They are all in their 70’s and 80’s here and I am concerned for them as I am the young one really.

“Accent Group have called me up to apologise and said it was a mistake and that I should not have been sent that letter. But I just don’t think they thought it through.

“I have hypertension and anxiety. I could have had a heart attack when I read that letter.

“I am speaking out about this because I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.

“I feel like I have been harassed by these letter that are quite scary.”

A spokeswoman for Accent Group, which has more than 20,000 homes across England, said: “First of all, we would like to apologise to Mrs McBryde for any distress we have caused.

“She did tell us she was self-isolating, but it seems there has been a breakdown in communications between ourselves and the contractor.

“One of our system generated letters was issued as a result, and a contractor was sent to her home to carry out a service.

“As a registered social landlord, we must carry out gas and electrical safety checks.

“The health and safety of our residents will always be our top priority.

“However, the Coronavirus has presented us with a number of challenges to work through where self-isolation and social distancing are concerned, and we are trying to balance respecting the needs of our residents to self-isolate and social distance, with our duties as a landlord.

“What we will do in future is look at each situation individually and, where there is any cause for uncertainty, agree with our resident what will happen.

“We have spoken to Mrs McBryde and apologised for her distress and reassured her we respect her need to self-isolate.”

The spokeswoman added: “We are more than happy to talk to her again if she wants to discuss this further.”