Fury over Leeds older people’s housing complex that was crawling with tiny bedbugs

Mark Bebb outside St Augustine's Court, in Harehills. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Mark Bebb outside St Augustine's Court, in Harehills. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

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A Leeds carer claims thousands of tiny insects have invaded a city sheltered housing complex, making both his and his frail mother’s lives a misery.

Mark Bebb has complained to Leeds City Council over the bedbug infestation at St Augustine’s Court, in Harehills, amid a saga that has left his mother unable to return to her flat.

Bedbugs at Mark Bebb's mother's flat at St Augustine's Court.

Bedbugs at Mark Bebb's mother's flat at St Augustine's Court.

Mr Bebb, 42, temporarily moved her out last summer but when she was due to return in October, he was told the facility was being fumigated.

He claims the infestation has spread to his own home nearby, forcing him to throw out furniture and redecorate. Now 10 months on from the initial outbreak, he is still getting bitten.

Leeds City Council has confirmed that the source of the infestation “remains under investigation” after fumigation was completed in November but warned that bed bugs can be “extremely difficult to eliminate”. A spokesman said the council is not responsible for Mr Bebb’s private property.

Claiming that the ordeal has left him hundreds of pounds out of pocket through the redecoration of his home, Mr Bebb said: “We are virtual prisoners in my house, I’m finding bed bugs on a daily basis and for them to tell me to contact my landlord – I just find that unacceptable.

Bedbugs at Mark Bebb's mother's flat at St Augustine's Court.

Bedbugs at Mark Bebb's mother's flat at St Augustine's Court.

“I can’t have people to come in and see me because I’m scared they’re going to get bedbugs. I can’t tell you how many bottles of disinfectant we have gone through.”

Several residents at the council-run St Augustine’s Court have been affected by the infestation, although staff have reportedly met with residents regularly to discuss the issue.

Council residents would normally be liable to pay for fumigation but due to the widespread outbreak, Housing Leeds has agreed to fund the operation.

Bedbugs are blood-sucking insects, which are attracted to body heat and carbon dioxide, that can live in the cracks and crevices of beds.

A council spokesman said that Mr Bebb’s mother’s flat was fumigated but that on follow-up visits they have been unable to get hold of him to arrange access to the property.

The spokesman said: “The safety and comfort of tenants has been our first priority throughout this unfortunate infestation and tenants can be assured that we have done everything we can to minimise any disruption and upset this might cause.

“The source of initial infestation remains under investigation and bed bugs can be extremely resilient and difficult to eliminate.”

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