Edinburgh mother: 'They have put me in a flea-ridden flat with three kids'

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A mother-of-three has told how she had to call out pest control three times in less than a year after the council placed her in a flea-infested flat.

Zara Stewart, 31, said spraying the carpets in the two-bedroom property seemed to banish the blood-sucking insects for a while, but each time they came back.

Zara Stewart is appealing to the council to fumigate the flat to get rid of the fleas once and for all.

Zara Stewart is appealing to the council to fumigate the flat to get rid of the fleas once and for all.

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And now she is appealing to the council to fumigate the flat to get rid of them for good.

Ms Stewart said she first discovered the fleas soon after she and her three daughters - Faith, 3, Sapphire, 2, and Hope, 16 months - moved into the flat in Duddingston Row in January.

“I noticed I was getting a lot of spots. I went to the chemist’s and they said it was some kind of bite. Then I started noticing a flea on my foot, on my arm and on my bairn’s head.”

Pest control came out and sprayed the carpets. “It died down for a while, but about a month later I was getting bitten again. They came out again, did the treatment and gave me another appointment a few weeks later. The last treatment was in April. But now they’re back I’m getting bitten again.

“I saw one on my arm when I was cleaning, one on my leggings and one on my pillow.

“They have put me in a flea-ridden flat with three young children. I’ve never lived in this kind of state in my life.

“They have to take everything out of the house, lift the carpets and fumigate it.”

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She said the problem was affecting her day-to-day life. “I can’t take the girls to nursery in case it spreads the fleas, I can’t even go and see my family because I don’t want to take the fleas to their house.”

Ms Stewart is also worried about Sapphire’s health. “Just before Christmas she was in hospital with severe facial cellulitis. Because she’s had it once she is prone to get it again. Even a scrape or getting bitten could put her back in hospital. I’ve tried explaining that to the council but they’re not taking it seriously.”

She said she phoned the council on Monday and they rang back saying the next available appointment was on September 17. It was only after the Evening News asked the council to comment on the case that pest control contacted Ms Stewart and said they could come today.

A council spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the issue and we are arranging to visit the property today.”