'˜Terrified' woman says she is on the verge of a breakdown after Portsmouth flat is over-run by mice and she is bitten by rodents while in bed

A '˜TERRIFIED' woman with a disability says she is on the verge of a '˜breakdown' after suffering a catastrophic mouse infestation that has resulted in rodents mauling her in the night.

Monday, 21st May 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:40 am
Diane Stevens's Hilsea flat is infested by mice Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180481-1)

Diane Stephens, 57, says she is a prisoner in her own home after being ‘hung out to dry’ by housing association Vivid who she believes have left her to fend for herself.

Diane says the real life horror show at her Howard Road house in Hilsea has left her living out of bags and having to pick up dead mice as the rodents run amok - leaving her ‘disgusted’.

Pest control have been called out to the premises but have told Diane the whole property needs to be emptied for them to be able to properly fumigate.

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Diane Stevens's Hilsea flat is infested by mice Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180481-1)

‘I’m at the stage of nearly having a breakdown,’ Diane told The News. ‘It’s been horrible. I’ve had mice running over me when I’m asleep biting my head and I constantly have to pick up dead ones.

‘The whole place smells and is totally disgusting - it is a health hazard. I feel sick all the time. I struggle to sleep and all I can think about is the mice. I don’t know what to do.

‘The housing association don’t want to help. Vivid put down some traps but it has made no difference as there are so many of them. They have told me it is my problem to sort out.

‘I just want my home back. I’m a clean person and can’t go on living like this. It’s terrifying. I’m unemployed with no money and have a disability.

‘I can’t afford to put my stuff in storage and physically it is difficult for me to move my stuff and they are not giving me any alternative place to go and stay in the meantime.’

Derek Streek, head of operations at Vivid said: ‘We’re aware of the issue and we’re working closely with De-Pest, an independent pest control service to resolve it. De-Pest has confirmed that the situation’s getting better.

‘They’re visiting weekly and we are communicating regularly with our customer. We’ve offered tenancy support to help our customer but this has been refused to date. Our neighbourhood officer will also be visiting the property next week with De-Pest to assess progress, so we can get this issue resolved as soon as possible.’

Portsmouth City Council stated that as Diane’s residence was not one of its houses they were not able to assist unless Vivid were not acting on her concerns - in which case she could contact the council’s housing standards team.