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Tenants’ plea for end to rat menace
5:00pm Sunday 16th December 2012 in Melksham
Above, kidney patient James Bull, who has had to move his dialysis machine to partner Elaine Schiffer’s rat-free house
Angry tenants are calling for action to rid their homes of rats which they say are making their lives a living hell.
The occupants of flats in Foundry Way, Spencers Gate, Melksham say they have repeatedly asked landlord Jephson Housing Association Group to do something about the rat problem, but their calls have fallen on deaf ears.
James Bull, who lives in flat 86, suffers from chronic kidney failure and needs dialysis treatment on a machine three times a week. He has been receiving this at home for the past 18 months.
He has been forced to move in temporarily with his partner Elaine Schiffer, after realising the rats had got into his flat.
He said: “We realised they had got into my dialysis room when we came back one day and found a packet of biscuits we’d left was empty.
“Then we went into the kitchen to find holes in the carpet and rubbish from the bin strewn all over the floor. I rang up Jephson immediately, but it just seemed lackadaisical about it.
“I am not happy and my consultant is not happy as I cannot risk contamination. I am waiting for a kidney transplant, but if I catch a virus, that is it.
“It’s supposed to be my home, it should be a clean and safe environment, but Jephson just doesn’t seem to be bothered. It is outrageous.”
Mr Bull, 45, says Jephson has sent around contractor Pro Kill, but only traps have been put outside. The tenants believe the rats are coming in through a broken pipe in the sewers.
Cheyanne Billings-Wakerley, 18, lives in flat 87 with her boyfriend, and says she has been dealing with the rat infestation since a few weeks after moving in to the block, back in May.
“The rats have got in everywhere. They have eaten through my sofa and through my kitchen unit.
“It started just a few weeks in with maggots coming from the ceiling and then we found rat droppings.
“Environmental Health gave Jephson a list of jobs that need to be carried out, such as putting stuff down the drains, but it doesn’t seem to have done any of it.
“Jephson even told my mother when she rang up to complain that it had known about the rats for five years.
“I get very emotional about it, I wake up in the morning and want to cry. It is not nice living here.
“Jephson won’t do anything about it and just laugh when we ring up to complain now.
“It’s not taken seriously.”
Nicki Keefe, 48, who has lived on the first floor in flat 88 for five years, said: “Very little action has actually been taken and they haven’t even come to see me.
“Our complaints need to be taken seriously, because at the moment they just don’t seem to care.”
Sue Thompson, housing manager at Jephson, said: “Despite a six-week programme of intensive baiting, unfortunately the problem hasn’t been resolved and as a result, we have put several measures in place, including carrying out a drain survey, clearing shrubbery, and implementing a high-impact pest control operation covering external areas, with additional baiting due to take place in residents’ homes on Friday.
“We would like to thank residents for their patience. Anyone who is concerned can contact our housing team on 01793 602199.”
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