Bug Infested Edinburgh Flat Was Among Worst Ever Seen

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By Cara Sulieman

A FLAT was so badly infested with bugs that horrified pest controllers were forced to dump TWO TONNES of rubbish from the property.

The home – branded “one of the worst cases” ever seen by pest control – was fumigated after residents in flats on either side complained about the beasties getting into their homes.

They found bed bugs and eggs in every room of the housing association property – where it is believed a man lives with his son.

City of Edinburgh Council said they were forced to act after the infestation got so bad they had begun invading neighbouring homes.

They served a Statutory Notice on the rented accommodation and gave who notice to the man living there to remove any valuables before pest control teams moved in.

But even they were left staggered by the extent of what they had to throw out before fumigating work could begin.

Cleaners tried to treat furniture and other items so they could be returned to the owner and his son.

Much was too badly infested to keep, leading to a potential dispute when the key holder.

But council chiefs said their actions were “necessary” to protect residents of neighbouring flats.

A spokesperson for the City of Edinburgh Council said: “This property was brought to our attention following complaints from neighbouring properties.

“Upon inspection an extreme bed-bug infestation was discovered.

Property

“This was one of the worst cases ever seen by the Pest Control Team and appropriate action needed to be taken swiftly as the infestation had already spread to other properties.

“This case was so bad that the Public Health team were brought in and we used our statutory powers under the City of Edinburgh District Council Order Confirmation Act 1991.

“The residents of the property were told about the fumigation process and were asked to remove anything of value from the property.

“They were told that everything would need to be removed from the flat, including furniture, and that items which could not be treated would be disposed of.”

“Last Thursday, officers from Pest Control and from Public Health entered the property and removed two tonnes of accumulated rubbish, before fumigating the property.

“Bed-bugs and their eggs were found throughout the property.

“Extreme action, such as taken here, is rare but was an absolute necessity to protect the health of the residents and the residents of neighbouring flats.”

Data Protection Laws prevents council chiefs from stating exactly where in Edinburgh the flat was located.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not sure there is too much you can really add to this story……!

    I’m sure all the residents were very pleased that the normally much maligned councils actually took some appropriate enforcement action.

    You do have to wonder how people let things reach such a point.

  2. Data Protection law does not prevent the official from naming the area, nor indeed from providing the area postcode. Identifying an individual property or an individual might have DP implications but even in that case, the public interest is clearly served by alerting nearby residents to such a serious infestation in the area.

    It is possible to transfer bed bugs & their eggs on one’s clothing & belongings so it is also of interest to public bodies such as libraries & to mass tranport providers.

    The Data Protection Act has a specific public interest exemption clause with which Edinburgh Council would do well to familiarise themselves, as cases such like this are only likely to increase in prevalence until national government gets a grip & makes bed bugs a notifiable pest with a duty on property owners to treat & take preventive measures against re-occurence. (Which has far more to do with solid floors & well-maintained walls than simply ejecting infested tenants.)

    As to how things got so bad, certainly in England, Housing Associations are refusing to treat for bed bugs simply because the law permits to do so. Adequate treatment is not cheap & is beyond the reach of most people who live in social housing. It is a public good to provide free & low-cost treatment to those on low incomes & to provide help with preparation for those unable to cope themselves.

    Additionally, many people have no idea what a bed bug looks like & some people do not have any histamine response (welts, itching, etc) to bites & are thus blissfully unaware of their problem.

  3. Unless I’m mistaken and have the wrong case, the bed bugs never originated in that flat, instead they came from an upstairs neighbour who was refused treatment by the housing association until more people became infested (their wording was that they wouldn’t treat a single occupancy, only if multiple housing association properties were effected would they take action.) Basically the housing association dropped the ball and have ended up costing their tenants and the tax payer lots of money. I think the press should be making much more of this.

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