Pensioner stuck in lift at Tesco for two hours

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It was a race against time to rescue a former councillor who got stuck in a supermarket lift.

Honorary Alderman Barry Gardner had popped in to Tesco, Havant, to do a bit of shopping - but got trapped for two hours.

The 72-year-old, of Lockerley Road, West Leigh, got into the lift on the ground floor on his mobility scooter.

But when it reached the top the doors failed to open.

Mr Gardner suffers from heart and kidney problems as well as diabetes and needs to take his tablets at regular intervals.

So he feared he might fall ill if rescuers didn't reach him in time.

Thankfully, just five minutes before he needed to take his medication firefighters managed to get open the doors.

Mr Gardner, a stalwart of Havant Borough Council for 20 years, said: 'I got in the lift as normal, went straight up to the top floors, went to get out and the doors would not open. They were stuck fast.

'I rang and rang the alarm and after a while I began to hear voices and then drilling. I began to get frightened.

'I'm on 10 tablets a day and I must take them on time otherwise I'll become ill.

'I spent a month in a coma last year because of my heart.

'It was freezing cold and the lights were off for a lot of the time. It was a dreadful experience. It took two hours for them to get me out and they had to take the doors off. I felt such relief when they eventually got me out.'

Mr Gardner's daughter Hayley, who is his full-time carer, rushed to Tesco with his medication ready for him when he came out.

She said: 'This should not have happened. I was worried sick.

'I felt sheer panic knowing he was stuck in there without his tablets.'

It took 14 firefighters from Havant and Cosham to free Mr Gardner and in the end they had to take the doors off with a disc cutter.

A Tesco spokesman said the lift had broken down in the past but never with someone in it.

Engineers have been called in to fix the problem and investigate how it happened.

It should be up and running again in the next few days.

He added: 'We feel awful about what happened.'