Stripping vicar goes for bust

editorial image

A CHURCH of England vicar who set up his own much-publicised mattress stripping business has sprung a shock on the city by abandoning his warehouse – leaving it crammed with rotting mattresses.

And the Citizen can reveal the Rev Stephen Nunn is not even a practising cleric, with the Church of England confirming he retired more than 10 years ago.

The man dubbed the ‘tricky vicar’ has gone bust after charging people up to £6.50 a time to dump a mattress.

His second unit in Stacey Bushes is this week closed, with hundreds of abandoned mattresses piled up to the eaves.

The company, called Mattress Recycling UK, was set up with aplomb by Mr Nunn last September. Under the headline ‘Vicar turns Stripper’ he boasted about his plans to help save the planet by stripping old mattresses into reusable components.

Seven months on, the 46-year-old has made a seemingly unglamorous exit from Milton Keynes, leaving the Erica Road unit strewn with worn shoes, gloves, a coat, dirty coffee mugs and a sea of paperwork clogging up the space between mattresses.

In the untidy office stands a filing cabinet with two handwritten notices saying ‘money in’ and ‘money out’ while on a window is taped a handwritten inventory describing a ‘large quantity of mattresses.’

A neighbouring tenant said: “We haven’t seem him for three weeks. The place is deserted.”

Milton Keynes is not the only town in which Mr Nunn collected mattresses.

The Citizen spoke to Chichester landlord John Jenkins, who rented his warehouse in Sidlesham to him last autumn.

Mr Jenkins said: “It is full with hundreds of horrible grubby mattresses. The place is a tip and there’s no sign of the reverend.”

“He has never paid me a penny in rent. It will cost me £15,000 to get all the mattresses moved. I am not happy.

“I trusted him because he said he was a reverend but this makes him seem more like a tricky vicar.”

Mr Nunn told the Citizen on Tuesday: “We received no more than £6.50 a mattress. We have petitioned for insolvency to pay back some of our debts.

“We deeply regret the closure of our company and the cost and inconvenience to our creditors. We were let down on many contracts from local authorities who no longer had money to spend on recycling projects due to Tory cuts.

“I have personally lost thousands of pounds and worked for 18 hours a day for six months to avoid this situation.

“We only had one customer at Milton Keynes who supplied all the mattresses. The pile inside is one week’s worth and could be cleared for under £300.”

A spokesman for the church of England press office confirmed Mr Nunn was ordained in 1992 and had not practised since the year 2000.