Devastated victims of the Croydon self-storage fire have accused the company of misleading customers and hiding behind policies.

Fire broke out on New Year's Eve at the 1198 unit Shurgard facility on Purley Way, completely destroying the building and countless possessions inside.

Suzanne Tanguy, who lost all her possessions bar two suitcases of clothes in the fire, launched a petition earlier this week calling for the company to address victims directly and accept greater responsibility for their losses, which has been signed over 10,000 times.

Ms Tanguy, 35, said: "I feel like my personal history has been erased. Everything I owned apart from a small number of my clothes was in there.

"Not only have I lost furniture, books, clothes and my bike, I've lost items that held special memories - family heirlooms, letters and mementos from loved ones, even a cardigan my Nanny gave me when she passed away.

"Shurgard has been completely silent since January 4, when they sent a generic email about insurance. There’s no 'face' to Shurgard - no person representing them or addressing us as a customer group.

"I feel they've deliberately misled people, encouraging customers to store sentimental items in their marketing but then forbidding it in their terms and conditions."

"I want them to accept responsibility for the fact that they have misled people and just show some care and compassion to people who have lost everything."

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Suzanne Tanguy

The company's website suggests storage units could be "very useful" in a "period of mourning", while the terms and conditions of customer contracts state it is "strictly forbidden" to store "irreplaceable objects" or "objects with an emotional value."

Victims argue this is misleading, since the belongings of deceased relatives are more than likely to have special sentimental value.

In response, Shurgard has emphasised the terms and conditions expressly forbid the storage of such items.

Speaking on the Victoria Derbyshire show, Duncan Bell, vice president of operations, said: "In the terms and conditions it does mention that customers are not to store items of emotional or sentimental value.

"There's no value of misleading people to our business. The contract that's signed confirms that the customer has read the terms and conditions."

Ms Tanguy says the company is "hiding behind policies" which it made minimal effort to draw customer's attention to.

She stored her possessions as she moved out of her Clapham home of two years in preparation for a return to Ireland. She lived in Croydon for five years before. 

The £2000 insurance policy she took out upon depositing her items only cover part of their value, which she estimates to be worth £4000.

Now back in Dublin, she is facing starting her life again from scratch.

"Biggest thing is I'm here in Dublin with nothing, wondering if I was ever in England at all," she said.

"A whole period of my life is gone."

A 26-year-old was arrested last week in relation to the incident on suspicion of arson. He has since been released but remains under investigation.

To view the petition visit: