Page last updated at 17:52 GMT, Sunday, 18 January 2009

Customer takes repair man hostage

Tracy Fox
Mrs Fox said she had requested an engineer five times

A County Durham woman became so sick of her constantly broken washing machine that she held an engineer hostage.

Tracey Fox barricaded herself against the door and refused to let the Currys engineer out of her home in Thornley.

The 42-year-old, who had been unable to wash her family-of-six's clothes since December, said she had had enough.

After police were called, the situation was resolved amicably, and Currys have since supplied Mrs Fox with a new washing machine.

She bought the washing machine 10 months ago, and said she had requested an engineer five times.

Mrs Fox, who looks after her two children, two grandchildren and husband, finally lost her temper on 13 January.

I am not proud of what I did but it was the only way I was going to get something done
Tracy Fox

She said: "The company had already cancelled on me four days earlier and I was already annoyed about that.

"It broke early December, but they told me that I would have to wait until after Christmas.

"When they eventually sent someone round, he said it was because of a two pence piece and started to pack up all his gear."

Mrs Fox then told him he could not go and sat by the back door, refusing to back down, or let him out.

"I told him to call the police, but he said no, he didn't want me getting into trouble for kidnap.

"I didn't care at that point, I am not proud of what I did but it was the only way I was going to get something done."

Both parties eventually called the police, and she let the engineer go before officers arrived.

Inspector Craig Dixon, of Durham Police, said: "We can confirm we received a call from Tracey Fox and the engineer.

"She did let him go after a matter of minutes. The matter was resolved without arrests being made."

No-one from Currys was available for comment on Sunday.

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