Ref. 25768-6AN 83-year-old widow was wrongly threatened with eviction from her council bungalow following a benefits blunder.

Widow Betty Bown, of Gay's Place in Upper Stratton was sent a letter on July 8, demanding she settle rent arrears totalling £230.65.

The letter stated that if she did not make contact within seven days - or pay the money - consideration would be given to taking legal action to recover the arrears, which could result in eviction.

Mrs Bown says she first started to experience problems shortly after her husband Stanley died in April 2002.

Although the pensioner insists she took the death certificate to the offices in Princes Street on four occasions, the shared tenancy account was not closed down, even though a single tenancy number was issued to her.

Les Hosegood, housing operations manager, admitted an inputting mistake had occurred and that it is in the process of being rectified.

He said: "Mrs Bown was given a new tenancy number when her husband died. This has caused some confusion.

"It seems that the computer system picked up the wrong number and a computer-generated letter was issued.

"It is one of those unfortunate things. When they (recipients of a letter) receive a notice I would urge them to contact the housing department and talk to us so we can resolve any problems as quickly as possible."

Meanwhile Mrs Bown says the last fortnight has been a nightmare for her. She said: "I have lived in this house for 20 years and I have never owned a penny.

"It is disgusting the way that I have been treated. You don't want things like this happening when you reach my age."