'Only time will tell what damage has been caused to the electrics' - Contractors' mechanical saw sends dust flying over Letchworth Mobility scooters and wheelchairs

PUBLISHED: 10:39 08 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:39 08 November 2016

Letchworth Mobility owner Andy Watson shows some of the dust on his fingers.

Letchworth Mobility owner Andy Watson shows some of the dust on his fingers.

Danny Loo Photography 2016

Contractors using a mechnical saw in Letchworth sent dust flying all over scooters and wheelchairs on a specialist mobility shop's forecourt on Wednesday, potentially causing damage worth hundreds of pounds.

Andy Watson outside his shop.Andy Watson outside his shop.

Andy Watson, boss of Letchworth Mobility – opposite the work site in Openshaw Way – intends to complain to the Health and Safety Executive over the thick layer of dust that shrouded six mobility scooters, rendering them temporarily unsellable.

He said aside from the inconvenience of cleaning the scooters up, he would have to pay more than £500 for an engineer to check the electrics inside still worked.

“It is unknown what damage, if any, has been caused to the electrics by the dust,” Andy told the Comet.

“Only time will tell.

Some of the dust-covered stock.Some of the dust-covered stock.

“Other workmen using the same type of mechanical saw at the location have done so in conjuction with water to ensure dust is kept to a minimum.

“The two gentlemen I approached confirmed that their mechanical saw was not used in conjuction with water.”

Andy initially thought the workmen were from Stevenage-based Morrison Utility Services, whose livery appeared on most of the hi-vis jackets he saw – and the two workmen he spoke to said they were working for that firm, pointing to a Morrison log book in their front windscreen.

But a Morrison spokeswoman said that their contract with UK Power Networks had ended in September, and that none of the staff on site were theirs. UK Power Networks confirmed that the workmen were actually from WM Walsh Surfacing.

Some of the dust-covered stock.Some of the dust-covered stock.

Andy said that WM Walsh contracts manager Marco Della Mura had looked over the damage on Thursday and advised that someone would get in touch regarding compensation – but he thinks the offer UK Power Networks have since made is too low.

“They have offered us £400 as compensation,” said Andy. “So I am expected to meet the difference for the cost of the engineer, the cost of my and my wife’s time for cleaning the scooters, the cost of cleaning products and the loss of trade while the scooters and wheelchairs are unavailable to sell.”

A UK Power Networks spokeswoman apologised for any inconvience caused by the work.

“Safety is paramount to UK Power Networks and we’re investigating with our subcontractor how the work was carried out,” she said.

“We have offered to have the scooters cleaned – or would accept a reasonable offer to have them cleaned – but Mr Watson refused this offer.

“We then offered £400 as a goodwill gesture because of the inconvenience caused, but again Mr Watson has declined.

“We will continue to liaise with Mr Watson to try to resolve the issue.

“We’re sorry that it wasn’t explained to Mr Watson initially that the workmen on site were subcontractors, who were working on behalf of our contractors.”

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