by Lynn Cox
Bungling Child Support Agency bosses told a man he owed almost £12,000 for two kids he didn't father.
Ian Burrowes, 48, was contacted by the agency in April when it informed him it was taking action on an historical debt case.
The case involved two girls from East London, and he owed arrears of £11,535.48, to the Secretary of State for their upkeep.
Ian, of Shepheards Way, Lower Stoke, who does have two children of his own in their 20s, has spent the past two months trying to prove he was not the dad.
He had never heard of the mother of the children who claimed he was the dad and after doing his own investigations, he found out the two girls and their mother were from a different ethnic group to him, he is white and they are black.
Ian, who lives with his partner, Donna Smith, 36, said: "I'd never heard of this woman or the children.
"It was a claim by the mother dating back to 1993, I was gob-smacked, I've never even been to the part of London where she lives.
"I kept telling the CSA they were mistaken but no one would listen, I even said I would do a DNA test to prove I was not the dad, but they told me I would have to pay for that to be done."
After getting legal advice and doing his own research, two months later the agency finally admitted to him it had made a mistake and it had got his national insurance number mixed up with someone else.
Ian added: "It's been immensely stressful, especially for my family, my elderly father found it very hard to understand.
"As did one of my children, there was doubt in one of their minds too.
”it was horrible not to be believed and be expected to prove your not the dad yourself...” – mr burrowes
"I did cause a bit of friction between me and my partner, she wanted to know why I had not told her about these children, but realised after we talked I was not the dad."
The CSA has now written to Ian to tell him the case has been closed and that no further action will be taken.
The letter also apologised for any distress or embarrassment the situation may have caused.
Ian, who is a manager at hire company in Strood, added: "It's a huge weight of my shoulders and my name has been cleared.
I feel my good character was tarnished by the CSA and some people told about it didn't believe me, I could see there was doubt in their mind.
"I found the agency very inept and the people on the telephone I dealt with were very uncaring, I could tell they didn't believe what I was telling them.
"I think it's unacceptable for them to treat people like this and to make mistakes as big as this was.
"It was horrible not to be believed and be expected to prove your not the dad yourself."
A spokesman for the Child Support Agency said: "Some parents do everything to dodge the CSA and in trying to track them down the Agency occasionally approaches innocent parties.
"Whenever this happens we immediately apologise and delete them from the case records."