It’s the stuff of nightmares – a Bermondsey mother woke up in her new home last week to find the place covered in cockroaches, some of which were crawling all over her 10-month-old baby.
Meyrem Walker had only moved into temporary accommodation in the Aylesbury Estate with her partner Corvel Thomas and their little boy CJ Thomas the day before the creepy-crawly incident occurred on January 8.
She told the News: “It’s disgusting, I feel sick thinking about it. It was only five in the morning but we got up and went to stay at a friend’s house. I’m not going back to that house and I’m not taking my son in there.
“He’s only ten months old, he could just grab one and put it in his mouth. If that happens, it would be me in trouble, not the council.”
She found dozens of cockroaches in a communal cupboard in the hallway outside her flat, feeding off a huge pile of rubbish which has not been cleaned away.
She said that when she called the council and complained about the cockroaches, they told her it was not an emergency and she would have to stay.
Corvel added: “It’s not right, it’s not a home. It’s not somewhere we can feel safe having a little boy.”
As if cockroaches weren’t enough, Corvel also spotted rats running across the main room where his little boy had been playing earlier that day.
Meyrem said: “They were rats, not mice. I’ve had enough, it’s a nightmare. We shouldn’t have to run away from our own home in the freezing cold but we needed to. We can’t use the furniture now either because the cockroaches were crawling all over it.”
Councillor Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for housing, said: “We are very sorry that this family has had pest control issues in their flat. The council offers a free pest control service to tenants and an appointment was booked on Monday. The council’s pest control officers will be visiting to treat the flat on Wednesday 13th Jan, as arranged. The appointment takes no more than four hours and the flat is safe to stay in overnight after this has happened.”
He added that temporary accommodation is in extremely short supply and the council are unable to offer alternative accommodation while pest control work takes place.