Gosport man feared he was 'forgotten' after having rats in his home for weeks

A DISABLED Gosport man feared he was 'forgotten' by a borough council after living with rats in his home for six weeks.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 4:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 4:42 pm
John Pitcher (80) from Gosport, has had rats in his flat at Behrendt House, Gosport. Picture: Sarah Standing (200421-6914)

Former ship builder John Pitcher said Gosport Borough Council should be doing more to fulfil its 'duty of care' to residents living in sheltered accommodation at Behrendt House.

It comes after a rat infestation that started in March left him too 'terrified' to use his kitchen and to sleep at night, and he lived without hot water for several days when the rodents chewed around his boiler.

Read More

Read More
Portsmouth council puts large boulders in place off Southsea Common to deter tra...

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Behrendt House in Gosport. Picture: Sarah Standing (200421-6920)

The 80-year-old is registered blind and has mobility issues.

He said: 'I told the council around six weeks ago that I had seen six rats running around my flat.

'I could hear them scurrying around at night and chewing wires, I was so scared.'

On Thursday last week John's neighbour Nigel took him directly to the council offices to ask for help.

John Pitcher (80) from Gosport, outside Behrendt House, Gosport. Picture: Sarah Standing (200421-6915)

The next day John - who has lived in the house for 17 years - was moved into the guest room on the floor above, where he stayed for four days.

'The problem was there was no food in the guest room and the bathroom was locked so I couldn't shower,' he said.

'It just felt like I was put there and forgotten about.

'And I couldn't get down to my flat because of my mobility and I've been told the lift is risky to go in alone as it might break down.'

Carers still attended John for his usual half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening.

His neighbour, 74-year-old Nigel, added: 'The care John is getting just isn't enough.

'It's not just about this rat problem. During the pandemic he didn't have enough help and I worry this will continue.'

After The News contacted Gosport council John was moved back into his flat.

But Nigel said: 'There's still a large hole in the kitchen wall from the rats and John is nervous to be there.'

Hayley Mckay, Gosport Borough Council's neighbourhood operations manager, said: 'We understand how distressing rats can be and have been dealing with the situation as quickly as we can.

‘Unfortunately, dealing with rodents does take time and typically it takes three visits before the situation is dealt with.

'When the resident expressed he was uncomfortable sleeping in his flat he was accommodated in a guest room with access to communal facilities. He retained the key to his flat and confirmed he would be accessing his flat in the day to eat and shower. His carers were also informed.

'The resident is now back in his property and there are no signs of rats but we will be visiting again tomorrow.'

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, for 27p a day.