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Neighbours reveal misery of living next to a infested hoarder’s house

Cleaners have entered ‘one of the worst’ hoarder houses they have ever seen – where dead rats are decomposing in the fire place and swarms of flies ‘fly in to each other’.

Grandparents Stephen Down, 49, and Colette Down, 48, have lived next to the house in Runcorn, Merseyside, for 20 years.

And the business owners only realised something was amiss when they saw rats running around their back garden.

Grandparents Stephen Down, 49, and Colette Down, 48, lived next to the house (pictured) in Runcorn, Merseyside, for 20 years

A dead rat is on top of the discarded fireplace and many of the belongings have shredding marks from the vermin

A dead rat is on top of the discarded fireplace and many of the belongings have shredding marks from the vermin

When they went next door the couple ‘could not believe’ the scale of clutter shown to them and reported seeing ‘rats jumping in the window’. 

Mr Down said: ‘It’s been unbelievable really, we had no idea what we were living next to.’  

He said they tried to help the owners, whose tenants left the mess, by making the brave decision to buy the property and restore it.

Pictures show a number of toasters, kettles and electrical items piled up among the sea of items, as well as decade-old magazines

Pictures show a number of toasters, kettles and electrical items piled up among the sea of items, as well as decade-old magazines

Rubbish is piled next to a grimy toilet as the walls turn black with mould at the Runcorn home

Rubbish is piled next to a grimy toilet as the walls turn black with mould at the Runcorn home

The home’s tenants have since been moved into a temporary house and hoping to finding somewhere else to live.  

Mrs Down, a former member of the armed forces, added: ‘We didn’t know the extent of it, there was no way of knowing they were living like that. 

‘We just kept saying there’s something not right here.

The home's tenants have since been moved into a temporary house and hoping to finding somewhere else to live. Pictured, old newspaper and magazines line the floor

The home’s tenants have since been moved into a temporary house and hoping to finding somewhere else to live. Pictured, old newspaper and magazines line the floor

‘We’ve been saying you can’t believe that someone could live like that. We’re still in shock, every day you’re finding something more shocking.’

During this summer’s heatwave, Stephen said the couple were unable to leave any windows or doors open, for fear of rats and flies, and had to invest in air conditioning supplies.

They could not let their grandchildren play outside because they feared rats had been on the children’s toys.    

Mr and Mrs Down (pictured in the home's garden) only realised something was amiss when they saw rats running around their back garden

Mr and Mrs Down (pictured in the home’s garden) only realised something was amiss when they saw rats running around their back garden

Ironically a dirty vacuum sits half covered in rubbish at the entrance to a cupboard, as two toasters, bags and even a pack of sanitary towels surround it

Ironically a dirty vacuum sits half covered in rubbish at the entrance to a cupboard, as two toasters, bags and even a pack of sanitary towels surround it

Merseyside House Clearing, who are tasked with cleaning the mountains of rubbish found inside, have now started the clear out.

The company’s owner, George Mensah, said he has been faced with gruesome and disturbing collections in his years of service but this was ‘one of the worst’.

Mr Mensah said he had to navigate around dozens of flies ‘flying into each other’. 

Pictures show a number of toasters, kettles and electrical items piled up among the sea of items, as well as decade-old magazines.

Thick grime is visible on the walls, fridge and windows and the lace, once white, curtains have turned black. 

The sink is filled with empty washing-up liquid and the glass in the window has turned green

The sink is filled with empty washing-up liquid and the glass in the window has turned green

Merseyside House Clearing, who are tasked with cleaning out the mountains of rubbish found inside, have now started the clear out (pictured)

Merseyside House Clearing, who are tasked with cleaning out the mountains of rubbish found inside, have now started the clear out (pictured)

A thick grime is visible on the walls, fridge and windows as the lace, white curtains have turned black on the windows

A thick grime is visible on the walls, fridge and windows as the lace, white curtains have turned black on the windows

The cleaning company's owner, George Mensah, said he has been faced with gruesome and disturbing collections in his years of service but this was 'one of the worst'

The cleaning company’s owner, George Mensah, said he has been faced with gruesome and disturbing collections in his years of service but this was ‘one of the worst’

Mr Mensah’s first-hand footage revealed how far the stacked items stretched to.

A dead rat is on top of the discarded fireplace and many of the belongings have shredding marks from the vermin. 

Mr Mensah’s company routinely clean hoarder’s properties, but said it is ‘rare’ you hear from neighbours and communities whose lives are affected.

He said: ‘We are very passionate about our work and are non-judgemental towards the individual in question.

Mr Mensah's company routinely clean hoarder's properties, but said it is 'rare' you hear from neighbours and communities whose lives are affected. Pictured, the kitchen

Mr Mensah’s company routinely clean hoarder’s properties, but said it is ‘rare’ you hear from neighbours and communities whose lives are affected. Pictured, the kitchen

‘A lot of clients and their families are embarrassed over the situation, we do a lot of work with mental health organisations, the majority of hoarders tend to be the elderly who live on their own.

‘Saying that, hoarding has no preference, no conscience.’

He added: ‘We’ve helped people who collect cigarette butts, people who collect dead cats in shoe boxes. One of the worst ones we found was someone who had a sex dungeon hidden.

The wallpaper is peeling away from the walls after years of neglect. Mr Mensah's first-hand footage reveals how far the stacked items stretched to

The wallpaper is peeling away from the walls after years of neglect. Mr Mensah’s first-hand footage reveals how far the stacked items stretched to

The couple next door could not let their grandchildren play outside because they feared rats had been on the children's toys. Pictured, the home's entrance-way

The couple next door could not let their grandchildren play outside because they feared rats had been on the children’s toys. Pictured, the home’s entrance-way

‘You name it, we’ve seen it, everyone has a secret.

‘Each job you take on, it’s like the person becomes part of you, you grow to love it. It’s like becoming a carer and a whole lot of people who you help you end up becoming friends with.’

Mr and Mrs Down said they ‘felt sorry’ for their neighbours and have called for more help to be given to hoarders.

Mrs Down said: ‘I think there needs to be a special helpline like they have for Childline, because people are desperate and they need help.

Work begins on cleaning up the house in Runcorn.  Mr Mensah said there is 'help out there' through the NHS and social services

Work begins on cleaning up the house in Runcorn.  Mr Mensah said there is ‘help out there’ through the NHS and social services

‘We’ve spoke to the people who have lived here and we’re sorry for what’s happened. 

‘I think there could have been a stop to this, if there was somewhere they could have rung and asked for some sort of help.’

Mr Mensah said there is ‘help out there’ through the NHS and social services, but said he believed ‘the public’ need to change their outlook on hoarding to feel able to speak.

He said: ‘It’s down to the family, or a neighbour to come forward and say I’m concerned. There’s enough help out there, but it’s breaking the taboo – people think it’s embarrassing.

‘It’s sad sometimes, but a lot of people feel this.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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