A BLIND man - and his guide dog - face being evicted from their council home after the local authority demanded payment for an alarm system he didn’t ask for.

On Tuesday, June 25, George Scanlin, of Eifion Close, Barry, received an undated and unsigned letter from a Vale council housing income officer informing him his rent account was £36.31 in arrears.

And Mr Scanlin, 55, and his guide dog Eddie could face being evicted unless he coughs up the cash.

Although Mr Scanlin was unable to read the letter as it wasn’t sent in Braille and as a hard copy rather than an e-mail – which he would have been able to get a program on his computer to read out – he later learned the council had been deducting money from his rent account for an alarm system he has never used and doesn’t want.

When Mr Scanlin moved into the property in February 2010, he signed a contract which included a free telecare alarm system funded by VCAS.

Although the service was free at the time, the council began charging tenants for the service from April this year – at an annual cost of £244.92. As it also requires an active landline to work, it can cost up to £500 a year, depending on line rental charges.

But Mr Scanlin said he has no need for the service as he has an alternative system which connects him to his brother and other contacts, should an emergency arise.

He said: “I’ve got an SOS button that will deal with anything that may happen.

“The council always use any credit in your account, or in my case first my home contents insurance premiums then, my housing benefit payments to prioritise payments for service charges leaving the home owner in debt with their rent etc.”

Mr Scanlin received a similar letter on Wednesday, May 15, saying he was £17.61 in rent arrears, and, when he phoned the council an income officer told him they had taken money from insurance premiums to pay for the Telecare system.

He added: “The alarm call system is something which I do not need, do not want or use and have never wanted.

“By taking money from my insurance money for it has, unknown to myself, left me vulnerable and unprotected.

“It had already voided my insurance and put me in rent arrears because of it.

“It’s ludicrous.”

A Vale council spokesman Mr Scanlin confirmed a payment reminder letter had been sent because the weekly alarm charge of £2.14 had not been paid for many weeks.

He said: “When Mr Scanlin moved into the property, the alarm service was highlighted in his offer of accommodation and forms part of his contractual obligations.

“Until recently, the way the alarm service was funded meant that many tenants did not have to pay anything towards the alarm charges.

“However from April, affected tenants were advised that they would need to cover this charge themselves.

“A member of the money advice team will get in touch with Mr Scanlin directly to make an appointment to discuss any help that can be provided."