OAP plagued by mice in sheltered accommodation

Terrified pensioner Margaret Hughes woke up one day to find a dead mouse in her bed. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Terrified pensioner Margaret Hughes woke up one day to find a dead mouse in her bed. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A MOUSE infestation in sheltered accommodation has left a pensioner “too terrified to sleep” after she woke up with a dead rodent in her bed.

Margaret Hughes, 82, has battled the vermin problem for a year, spending more than £100 on deterrents including noise-emitting sonar devices and poison.

But the grandmother-of-two said her 12-month battle has been in vain because the infestation has enveloped the entire complex at Lauriston Park.

The retired education worker, who has been there seven years, has cleaned droppings from her bedroom, kitchen and living room and caught several of the critters in bought and homemade mouse traps.

Now she is on the brink of moving out, and claimed Castle Rock – the body in charge of the sheltered accommodation block – refuses to act, insisting it is the tenant’s 
responsibility.

She said: “It’s a living hell and I’m at my wits’ end. I’m so paranoid about them that I can’t sleep. It’s affecting my health.

“I’m petrified of them and don’t want to stay here any more. I’m an 82-year-old woman but it’s been left to me to sort out.

“I’ve tried everything from buying four of the sonar devices to putting down poison. But the problem’s not just in my flat, they’re all through the building.

“We pay enough to them already, we can’t afford to pay £90 for each flat to get someone out. They should take responsibility.”

Margaret, who pays nearly £400 a month to stay in the one-bedroom property, said she does not want the upheaval of moving but feels there is no alternative.

Neighbour Howard Little, 68, said the problem started in January. He said: “I’ve already caught five and released them out in the garden but I don’t really want them about.

“There’s one I’ve tried to catch it but this one’s too smart for me. It will come in and sit in the middle of the floor. Sometimes it brings a pal as well.”

Fellow resident Ella Livingstone, 85, who has lived in the complex for 14 years, has also been left stressed after night visits by the pests.

She said: “They’re a health hazard and something needs to be done but I don’t think Castle Rock are prepared to spend anything the way things are.”

George Buchan, of Pestforce Edinburgh, said flats in the city were particularly susceptible and he was getting called to mouse infestations every day.

He said: “If they get established, they just keep breeding. The only way to eradicate it is to proof the flat and make sure they go elsewhere.

“The biggest problem is that landlords aren’t always willing to stump up for it which is a problem when people are part of shared buildings.”

Despite the residents’ concerns, however, a spokesman for Castle Rock insisted it had found no evidence of mice, and said customers had a responsibility to keep their property in a good and clean condition in order to prevent infestations. He said: “We will respond promptly to reports of vermin and pest infestation in common areas of buildings, and will offer advice and assistance to eradicate the problem in customer’s homes. Customers should contact their local authority who may charge for this service.

“In this instance, we have had the communal areas of the building inspected and no evidence of mice has been found.”