FURIOUS pensioners have slammed a housing association for removing plants and doormats from outside their homes... because they are fire hazards!

South Essex Homes has been removing the items from homes at a block of flats in Shannon Close, Leigh.

One resident said he refused to let the association workers remove his plant table and doormat out of protest.

David Carr said: “What the association is doing is absurd and so unjust.

“I am prepared to be arrested and even go to prison to stop them from taking my doormat and plant table.

“I have lived here 38 years and so many people compliment me on my plant table and how it makes the landing area so nice and homely.

“I feel this is unwarranted harassment of people who are trying to keep their homes nice.”

The 75-year-old added: “Of course I do not want our flats to be dangerous in any way but this is just over the top.

“When the South Essex Homes worker came to take my items I told them I would be prepared to stop them and they knew I meant it.”

The furious resident added he has worked hard in the community to tidy up the area in the past and cares very much about where he lives.

Fellow resident Thomas Thorpe, 71, also criticised the association. He said: “They took my doormat. When I’ve been out walking the dog I would like somewhere to wipe my feet before going into my house.

“We also had a nice plant table that paper boys used to leave papers and leaflets on. Now it’s been taken, these will just be left all over the floor.”

A spokesman for South Essex Homes said: “Fire Safety will always be of the highest priority for us to ensure our residents remain safe.

“Under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005, there should be no obstruction on escape routes, especially on corridors, stairways and landings where people who are escaping could dislodge stored items or are caused to trip or slip over.

“Any fire hazards or risks must be removed from exit routes as a fire or smoke on an exit route could have very serious consequences. All communal areas must be kept clear of obstructions and materials which could catch fire.”

“We understand this may appear stern, however the safety of residents is always paramount.”