COUNCIL tenants in Wear Valley are being urged to learn lessons from a recent soap storyline.

Eastenders character Ian Beale lost everything when his famous cafe was ruined by a fire shortly after he cancelled his insurance policy.

Housing managers in the area are now warning tenants cancelling their home insurance to save money could mean them suffering the same fate and having no means of replacing treasured items.

Pat Wanless, director of housing for management company Dale and Valley Homes, said: "Research by the Association of British Insurers has shown that almost one in four people in Britain have cancelled or not renewed their home contents insurance in the last twelve months as a way of saving money.

"This is a hugely risky thing to do. Without the safety net of insurance people can be left on the street with literally only the clothes they are wearing.

"Burglaries can also mean you lose valuable items, which is upsetting enough without having no way of replacing them.

"We understand that things are tight at the moment and would urge people to shop around for the best deals, but not to cancel their policy and leave themselves exposed to such a disaster."

Those who would like advice on home insurance should contact Natasha Meite on 01388-770952 or 0800-030333.