Gran charged £1,900 after denting Fareham lamppost

113570_LAMP_POST_09/10/11''Glenys Vout, got out of her car to speak to a friend in Fareham and it rolled down a hill and hit a lamp post. The lamp post was very old but she reported it to the council. She has recieved a demand from Scottish and Southern Energy for �1,900 to replace the lamp post. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113570-271)
113570_LAMP_POST_09/10/11''Glenys Vout, got out of her car to speak to a friend in Fareham and it rolled down a hill and hit a lamp post. The lamp post was very old but she reported it to the council. She has recieved a demand from Scottish and Southern Energy for �1,900 to replace the lamp post. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113570-271)
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WHEN Glenys Vout’s car bumped into a lamppost, she thought the right thing to do was own up.

But she was shocked when she later received a letter demanding she stump up £1,900 to fix the damage.

The 66-year-old was handed the whopping bill from Scottish & Southern Energy when she reported her car had made a slight dent to a post in Salterns Estate, Fareham.

Despite the poor condition of street lights in the road Mrs Vout was told she would have to pay £20 a month for eight years to cover the cost of installing a new one.

But after The News contacted the company it admitted all the lampposts are set to be replaced anyway and quickly abandoned its attempts to force the pensioner to pay up.

‘It’s like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders,’ she said. I’m so happy and grateful.

‘We were worried about it and couldn’t believe what was happening at first.’

The grandmother had got out of her car to speak to a friend – only to see it roll down the hill and bump into a lamppost. She insists only a minor dent was left in the post, but because it was already in a poor condition she decided to contact Fareham Borough Council.

‘I was concerned that the lamp at the top had moved round,’ she said. ‘I don’t know if I did it, but I thought it looked dangerous. I called the council to let them know and they were very nice and said not to worry.’

So Mrs Vout was shocked when a letter from Scottish & Southern arrived to tell her that the lamppost had been replaced and because she had admitted liability for the damage she would have to pay more than £1,700.

When she told them she could only afford to pay £20 a month they added a further eight per cent interest.

She said: ‘It felt like I was being punished for being honest. If I hadn’t called none of this would have happened, but I was only trying to do the right thing.’

Hampshire County Council – which has responsibility for street lighting – said all of Fareham’s lamps would be replaced within 16 months.

A spokeswoman for Scottish & Southern said: ‘The costs have been lifted as we are doing a one-for-one replacement in this road.’