Published: 06:00, 25 July 2021
A former High Sheriff of Kent says she is 'utterly fed up' of a utility company chasing her for money she does not owe and deployed 'naval language' as bailiffs turned up at her door.
Three years ago, Marianna Viscountess Monckton of Brenchley sold land on either side of her home in Runham Lane, Harrietsham.
But Castle Water, an independent business water supplier, is chasing her for £1,500 and has been for the past two years.
After several emails, letters and phone calls to try and tell the company about the new owner, Lady Monckton said she was at the end of her tether when bailiffs turned up on her private land on Tuesday.
Speaking of the ordeal, Lady Monckton, 92, said: "A white van and a black car came down my driveway.
"They both parked and I went up and asked who they were and what they were doing here but they wouldn't tell me.
"Eventually the man stood up and said he was here on behalf of Castle Water to collect money that Viscountess Monckton owes to Castle Water.
"At this point I blew and used my father's best naval language.
"I won't repeat what I said but I explained that this has been going on for years and I'm utterly fed up. I do not owe a penny to Castle Water.
"He then asked who does own the land and I said I wouldn't tell him because Castle Water knows already.
"It was so disgraceful his cursory manor, his rudeness and the way he spoke was unbelievable.
"The behaviour of the bailiffs, or whoever they were, was utterly disgraceful. It's outrageous that Castle Water has no control and just sends bully boys in."
She says the debt collectors then left almost immediately.
Lady Monckton says the new owner has tried to pay the bill and sort out the trouble but has had no luck despite writing to the firm.
A spokesperson for Castle Water said: "While we cannot comment on individual customer accounts, we can confirm that we are investigating this account.
"We handle tens of thousands of updates to accounts each year. Where the correct process hasn’t been followed, we are always keen to know and will take appropriate action."
Lady Monckton was the High Sheriff of Kent in 1981 and is patron of Heart of Kent Hospice in Aylesford.
In 1991 she helped get the hospice off the ground and invited Princess Diana to officially open the new site at Preston Hall a year later.
As someone who has been an integral part of the hospice in its three decades, Lady Monckton has seen many changes.
When she first started there were just four beds. The charity now has numerous outpatient services including physio and occupational therapy. It also offers welfare, bereavement and spiritual support in the wider community.