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Pensioner's pest nightmare victory

PUBLISHED: 14:31 26 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:57 02 March 2010

FRAIL Lorna Daynton can today see light at the end of the tunnel – after The Evening Star stepped in to help with her devastating pest nightmare.

The 69-year-old has suffered the infestation at her Ipswich flat for five months.

FRAIL Lorna Daynton can today see light at the end of the tunnel – after The Evening Star stepped in to help with her devastating pest nightmare.

The 69-year-old has suffered the infestation at her Ipswich flat for five months.

Despite her spiralling health problems and desperate claims that she feels like committing suicide, her landlord, Shaftesbury Housing Association, have refused to help.

And when she turned to Ipswich Borough Council, their experts allegedly wrongly identified the problem and carried out two ineffective smoke treatments that made her health worse.

So with the lonely pensioner becoming more mentally and physically unstable by the day, The Evening Star called in a specialist to try to free her from her "hell".

According to Gary Denny, of Suffolk Anti-Pest Services, the council's diagnosis that the pests were mites was wrong.

He has identified them as booklice and is now carrying out a more appropriate course of treatment.

Mrs Daynton said: "Mr Denny has treated me like a human being, not like an old lady who has gone senile because I'm not.

"Shaftesbury and the council think I am making a lot of fuss out of nothing."

The problems started in January, shortly after Mrs Daynton moved into her Wherstead Road flat, which is owned by Shaftesbury.

Since telling the Christian social landlords several weeks ago, Mrs Daynton said the company has been dismissive and rude.

Mr Denny said: "Mrs Daynton expressed some concern that she had been blamed for bringing in the pest.

"My studies of a clean flat and normal behaviour cast severe doubt on that assumption. It is more likely that she inherited an insect problem on moving in.

"It is reasonable to conclude that the insect is present in possibly all of the building."

Other tenants in the block are also suffering the infestation and Shaftesbury's ongoing insistence that it is Mrs Daynton's responsibility means the source of the problem may never be eradicated.

Shaftesbury have also continued to rebuff her pleas for a hotel room or a new flat while the problem is investigated.

Her solicitor is also trying to fast track through her legal aid so he can make a claim of compensation against Shaftesbury.

And Ipswich Borough Council still sticks by their diagnosis.

A spokesman said: "The specimens brought in to our experts were definitely mites.

"However, both mites and booklice may be present at the same location. Pest control have already given the flat two treatments so numbers should be down by now."

A Shaftesbury spokesman said the company and the council were looking into the problem.

N What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTfacts: Booklice (Psocids)

Booklice are often found in warehouses as well as domestic premises and infest plant materials, plaster, woodwork and even books. As such, it can appear as though they literally ooze from the walls.

It is possible the insects in Mrs Daynton's flat came from Ipswich port, which is located nearby, and infested the block during building work last year.

The species in Mrs Daynton's flat is called Liposcelis entomophilus, are about 1mm long and light brown with six legs.

Large infestations, as in Mrs Daynton's case, can contaminate food after entering through the drainage system. They can also cause allergies.


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