Ashtead gas threat arrest man speaks out

This Is Local London: Mark Rabbetts Mark Rabbetts

A man arrested over fears he was planning to gas himself has said he had no idea what all the fuss was about.

Builder Mark Rabbetts, 49, of Barnett Wood Lane, Ashtead, was arrested last Thursday evening on suspicion of threatening criminal damage but released the next day.

Emergency services were called to his house at 8.30pm along with police because of concerns that he had turned on the gas in his home and the place could explode.

But a bemused Mr Rabbetts, who lives with a talking parrot and auditioned for Britain's Got Talent this month, told the Epsom Guardian: "We had a fire engine, we had an ambulance. For what reason? None.

"That fire engine could have been saving someone else’s life up the road. That ambulance could have been saving someone else’s life up the road."

A nearby shopkeeper said he thinks someone panicked after not being able to contact Mr Rabbetts.

He said that when the emergency services arrived there were concerns about a temporary flue pipe from a boiler above the door, put in when the house was being done up.

He said: "They just thought it didn’t look right and it just went on from there.

"I think someone said can I smell gas and that’s how it all escalated.

"There was no gas."

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