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Woman ‘left in fear as rats invade her home’
A WOMAN was left distraught and in fear for her health after what her family said was a bungled plumbing job which led to a rat infestation in her housing association property.
Stella Cook, 76, has been a tenant of York-based Yorkshire Housing – formerly the Ryedale Housing Association – for almost 20 years.
She was shocked when her Flaxton cottage was overrun with the dangerous rodents after the organisation fitted a new toilet.
A concerned relative of Mrs Cook contacted The Press to voice anger at Yorkshire Housing’s handling of the problem.
They claimed that Mrs Cook discovered a plumber, sent by her landlords to fit the toilet, had accidentally left a drain uncovered.
Since then, they said, she had seen several rats in almost every room in the house, including her bedroom.
The asthma sufferer paid for pest control herself, amid claims the housing association refused to temporarily relocate her away from the one-bedroom property.
According to the family member, who wishes to remain anonymous, the only help offered was for the agency to come and collect the dead animals once they had been poisoned – yet three rats remained at large in the bungalow.
The relative said: “She’s frightened out of her wits.
“They say there’s only so much they can do until the rats are dead – but they won’t consider moving her.”
The rodents, which can spread fatal infections such as Weil’s disease, pose a health hazard.
Mrs Cook’s family has now offered her accommodation in their own homes until the situation is resolved.
Yorkshire Housing HomeWorks did not directly respond to the family’s claims that plumbers had left a drain cover open, and that it would not consider rehousing Mrs Cook.
However, Phil Royales, Head of Yorkshire Housing HomeWorks said: “We regret that Mrs Cook has experienced rats in her home.
“We are aware that rats do live in the vicinity of Mrs Cook’s home and have liaised with Mrs Cook to manage the situation.
“Yorkshire Housing Contractors have visited her home in response to calls to our Repairs Helpdesk, and advised Mrs Cook to contact Environmental Health or Pest Control to humanely catch the rats, as per our usual procedures.
“We will continue to work with Mrs Cook to find a solution,” said Mr Royales.