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West Winch resident ‘at wits’ end’ over rat and fly issues at Freebridge Community Housing home





A 79-year-old West Winch man has said he is at his “wits’ end” after being plagued by rat issues at his home for almost a decade.

Albert ‘Albie’ Pill has lived in his bungalow at Freebridge Haven - a sheltered housing complex managed by Freebridge Community Housing - for 14 years, but he claims the rodent problems have been getting “worse and worse” for nine years.

Mr Pill said despite complaining to Freebridge about the situation - brought about by rats getting into his loft via a now-redundant heating system - the issues are still ongoing.

Albert 'Albie' Pill, of West Winch, has spoken of his frustration with a rat problem at his Freebridge property which has been ongoing for the last nine years
Albert 'Albie' Pill, of West Winch, has spoken of his frustration with a rat problem at his Freebridge property which has been ongoing for the last nine years

The former Merchant Navy trawlerman and Campbell’s worker said that, so far, his complaints have only resulted in pest control setting baits for the vermin.

“I have got rats dying in the loft and it’s staining the ceiling badly when one of the rats die,” Mr Pill said.

“In the middle of the night, you get woken up with the rats crawling away.”

A mark on Mr Pill's ceiling which he believes has been caused by a dead rat in his loft
A mark on Mr Pill's ceiling which he believes has been caused by a dead rat in his loft

“The one thing that bothers me is I have 10mm of board between me and those rats,” he added.

“If they manage to claw through the board they are actually in the house.

“I’m totally at my wits’ end.”

The rats have also been bringing in maggots with them, creating a separate issue with flies in his home.

Flies on Mr Pill's window which he believes is caused by rats in his loft
Flies on Mr Pill's window which he believes is caused by rats in his loft

“I have just had a bad bout of flies,” Mr Pill said, explaining that at times he has got rid of around 100 insects, but then more become mature.

He spends much of his free time cleaning his windows as well as bleaching his kitchen worktops before he prepares food on them.

The 79-year-old also no longer uses water from the tanker in the loft and instead buys it bottled.

“I can’t seem to get it through to them - I’m not going up in the loft myself as I’m too old,” he said.

“It’s only in the last couple of years that it’s really started to get to me.”

Mr Pill claims that Freebridge offered him a £50 goodwill gesture and a letter of apology late last year.

“I don’t want £50, I just want the problem sorted,” he said.

A Freebridge Community Housing spokesperson said it was exploring “alternative options” to resolve the issue.

“We remain committed to supporting Mr Pill and understand his frustration,” they said.

“There are complexities with the site which was built in the 1960s above now disused heating pipes, and although the system has long since been decommissioned and sealed, we are experiencing challenges in relation to areas not immediately accessible.

“Freebridge maintains a contracted pest control programme in the area which will intensify during times when vermin are more active, and we are also taking steps to actively discourage feeding in the vicinity.

“We will continue to work with residents and our contractors to explore alternative options to resolve this issue.”



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