House of horrors
A major clean-up operation is underway after a Mansfield couple left their council house littered with over 400 used syringes and other drug related paraphernalia in a case which housing officers say is one of the worst they've ever seen.
Needles were found scattered throughout every room in the one-bedroom flat in Bilborough Road and blood-stains were found on furniture, walls and floors.
Lee Michael Clowes and Laura Marie Waite were evicted from the property on 29th January - a year to the day after moving in - for owing a substantial amount of unpaid rent.
However, it was only on entering the property following the eviction that housing officials made their horrific discovery.
Now the council will have to bring in a team of specialist cleaners to clear the property safely and make it ready for the next tenants. The cost of the clearance work is estimated at around £500 and will be carried out on Monday 11th February.
Clowes and Waite had moved into the property on 29th January 2007 but built up rent arrears from early on in their tenancy. Council officers visited the property on 15 occasions, wrote ten letters and made numerous telephone calls to the tenants before referring the matter to the courts.
On 30th October a court ruling gave Clowes and Waite a final opportunity to pay off the arrears at £5 per week, in addition to their rent. However, despite further follow-up visits and letters from the council they failed to make any payments.
After a further court hearing the council was given permission to go ahead with the eviction. Although Clowes and Waite were still in the property when council and police officers arrived to carry out the eviction, it is believed that Clowes fled through a window.
Mansfield District Council will pursue the pair for the rent arrears and clean-up costs.
Coun Heather Henshaw, Portfolio Holder for Housing said: "It's heartbreaking to see the state that this property has been left in and appalling to think that the decent majority who pay their rent on time, every time have been left to foot the bill.
"Although recovering the rent owed and clean-up costs will be extremely difficult, we can guarantee that Mr Clowes and Miss White will not be offered a tenancy again by Mansfield District Council and if other landlords or councils ask us for references they will receive a detailed account of our experience.