Portsea flat residents speak of their bed bug nightmare

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RESIDENTS of a bed bug-infested block of flats have called for urgent action to be taken to help them get rid of the pests.

Problems with the blood-sucking insects at Cardigan House in Kent Street, Portsea, began more than a year ago.

Resident Vanessa Williams has now reported the housing association in charge of the block – Southern Housing Group – to the council’s environmental health team in a desperate attempt to persuade them to bring in more pest control treatments.

University student Ms Williams said: ‘I am ill, physically and mentally through this. My grades have gone down. My neighbours have kids who have been bitten and covered in rashes.

‘We’ve had to buy replacement beds costing more than £8,000. People are throwing out everything made of fabric. At one point the bin shed was so full it was overflowing.’

Ms Williams, 40, said the pests had also caused residents to feel isolated.

‘It’s causing shame and segregation. It is awful,’ she said.

Another resident, Leah Mead, said her two children had been regularly bitten and that she was at her wits’ end trying to constantly clean, while monitoring and treating any pests as they appear.

The 27-year-old said: ‘It has been horrible. When we discovered them we had to get rid of our carpet and beds.

‘I have had to replace the furniture. We are all ill because of it.’

The block is managed by Southern Housing, which has 803 homes in Portsmouth.

A spokesman said it had treated the block last year as a goodwill gesture to its residents, despite pest control not being part of its responsibilty.

Paul Cotton, head of home management south, said: ‘While it’s our customers’ responsibility to arrange pest control treatments in their homes as needed, we did treat the block last year when we were told about issues.

‘A resident recently reported further issues and we’re currently trying to contact her to help her arrange pest treatment and payment.’

Ms Williams said she had not yet spoken to the association.

She said: ‘I was bitten on my arm three times last night. Something needs to be urgently done.’