'Nightmare' of Disabled Putney Man's Mould-ridden Council Flat

Colin Barnes says it is now infested by bedbugs

Colin Barnes, 70, has lived in his Putney home for 18 years. Picture: Andrea Gilbert


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A 70-year-old disabled man claims he is being “bitten up” by bedbugs in his mould-ridden council flat.

Colin Barnes has lived in his Putney flat for almost 18 years and says he has been “invaded” by bedbugs and black mould over the last year.

His learning disability advocate and local Labour activist, Andrea Gilbert, said it is a “nightmare”, claiming Colin also has to climb stairs to reach his flat with a walking stick.

Colin told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I got invaded some time back with some nasty little bugs, I don’t know how they got here.”

Colin has a series of health problems and a disability and said he is in a “a lot of pain” on a daily basis. He moved in nearly 18 years ago and claims he first saw bedbugs in his flat a year ago.

The 70-year-old said, “I got in touch with pest control but because Christmas is on top of us, we’re going to have to get that sorted after Christmas.

“It’s not very nice but what can you do.”

Bedbugs Litter Colin's Flat In Putney
Bedbugs Litter Colin's Flat In Putney. Picture: Andrea Gilbert

Pest control allegedly said it would have to remove all Colin’s furniture in order to get rid of the bedbugs but Colin said, “I’ve got nowhere else to put my things, it’s a very small place… I’m not very happy.”

Colin is on the first floor but says there is no lift, despite his disability.

“I just want to get back to normal”, he added.

Mould Can Be Spotted In Corners Of Colin's Home
Mould Can Be Spotted In Corners Of Colin's Home. Picture: Andrea Gilbert

Andrea said, “He’s getting bitten up, his health is getting worse and nobody seems to be taking it seriously.

“It’s a full on invasion, it’s a nightmare. He’s a pensioner, he’s worked all his life, he should not be living like this.

“Colin’s always had the bedbugs and the first time I ever met him, pest control had come out and the issue was that Colin didn’t want to move all of this stuff out of the property.

“So they’ve done a bit of the property. They put in the fumigation, but obviously where they haven’t taken everything out, the bedbugs are still in his stuff.

“So he’s basically got another invasion of them from the last time that they’ve come here.”

She added: “Nobody’s going to come out and go into someone’s home with bedbugs in it and remove the furniture so he’s pretty much stuck in limbo because he hasn’t got the assistance.

“This property is not suitable for his conditions.”

“There’s no lift here as well so he’s having to walk up the stairs with the walking stick.”

Wandsworth Council has been contacted for comment.

James Mayer - Local Democracy Reporter

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November 24, 2021

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