Pensioners are calling electricians to cap their gas lines in a bid to remove the temptation of heating their homes this winter. 

The news comes as households across the UK face rising energy bills as a result of the ongoing cost of living crisis. 

Tracey Proctor, community outreach advisor at support group Reach Haverhill, said people are resorting to desperate measures in a bid to save money. 

"I've never seen anything like this before," she said.

"It's shocking to think that people are getting their gas lines capped just to avoid using heating. 

"In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't make any difference and there are so many other things you can be doing to save."

Other steps being taken include staying in bed all day to stay warm and avoiding a bath or shower until going outside.

In a bid to provide support to these people, workers at Reach are providing warm clothing, thermos flasks, beanie hats and hot water bottles. 

However, the latter is being avoided by some who have concerns about boiling their kettle.

"This is coming from a place of fear," said Tracey. 

"As the cold weather starts to creep in, people are going to panic and it's only going to get worse. 

"It's just awful to think of a pensioner or anyone sitting in the freezing cold because they're frightened to turn on their heating.

"That's what we're trying to prevent and we'll do all we can to help."

Reach Haverhill are participants in this year's Cost of Living Winter Appeal, supported by this newspaper. 

Coordinated by Suffolk Community Foundation, Citizens Advice Ipswich and Suffolk County Council's 'Warm Homes Healthy People' project, the initiative aims to help the most vulnerable pay for their bills during a difficult winter.

The project comes as new local data shows the sharptest rise in fuel poverty in Suffolk seen for some time. 

Despite local and national government support, it is estimated that a total of 75,000 households are now struggling to meet their living costs and heat their homes as winter approaches.

If you would like to receive individual support from the Appeal, wherever you are in Suffolk, please contact Citizens Advice Ipswich on 01473 298634.

To donate to the Appeal, donate online by visiting, telephone 01473 602 602, visit any branch of Suffolk Building Society to make a payment over the counter.