Shop owner slapped with £12,000 electricity bill he claims is down to cannabis farm upstairs
PUBLISHED: 08:05 21 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:27 21 August 2019
A shop owner has been landed with an electricity bill for £12,000 which he alleges is linked to a cannabis farm above the store.
Rajendran Sivasutharjanan, 42, runs the Londis on South Mill Road in Thorpe St Andrew and was shocked to open his latest electricity bill from npower - which totalled £12,000 for the past seven months.
The father-of-two said: "I'm very angry. I can't stop thinking, 'Why?' I cannot pay it and I don't want to pay it. It's not my fault."
Mr Sivasutharjanan, who normally pays around £1,500 every three months, believes the bill belongs to the flat above his store where cannabids was being grown.
Police raided the flat in February this year and discovered nearly 250 cannabis plants filling three rooms.
Xhemal Molla, 28, was arrested at the scene and jailed for eight months in May at Norwich Crown Court for cannabis cultivation.
Mr Sivasutharjanan believes the shop's electricity circuit was tampered with to redirect energy to the cannabis farm.
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He said: "It's not fair. I'm a small, local business and I don't earn big money. I'm very happy to pay but I will only pay what I'm supposed to."
Mr Sivasutharjanan has run the business with his wife and brother for just over a year and has already spent much of it "living in fear because of the drug crime," he said.
He added: "It's the first business that's put everything on my head. I've also been scared that the drug association will hurt my shop's name and reputation."
Now, with his finances in danger, Mr Sivasutharjanan has made repeated appeals to npower but to no avail.
He said: "I've kept everyone informed throughout the whole thing from the energy provider to the council."
Mr Sivasutharjanan is waiting to hear from the authorities about the next steps.
A spokesperson for npower said: "The Energy Ombudsman has reviewed this case and concluded that Mr Sivasutharjanan is responsible to pay for all electricity used at his address, and we will work with him to find a manageable way for the debt to be repaid.
"While we have real sympathy for the position he appears to be in, the appropriate thing to do is for him to take action against the other people involved."