Mice infestation at Bristol woman's home so bad she is scared to get off coffee table
A WOMAN says she is forced to sit on her coffee table with her feet up and barely sleeps because her council home is overrun with mice.
But petrified Sonja Amesbury, of Bishport Avenue, Withywood, says she can't afford to pay the authority to get rid of them.
The 28-year-old is so perturbed by the infestation that she keeps her food at her mum's house and asks neighbours to make her coffee.
She sleeps with her two Staffordshire bull terriers in her bed and says the problem has caused her to lose weight and suffer with depression.
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Bristol City Council charges £64.80 for the service but Miss Amesbury says she can't possibly afford that as she only receives £71 a week Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA).
A spokesman for Bristol City Council said pest control prices "compare favourably" with other councils and private operators but says reduced rates are only on offer to people on a low income and not those on JSA.
Miss Amesbury, who lives in the property with dogs Smudge and Foxy, said: "I am absolutely overrun with mice but the council wants £64.80 and I only get £71 a week JSA.
"That does not leave me a lot to feed my dogs and myself."
She added: "I can't live here. I have had problems with mice since before Christmas.
"There is one in my vacuum cleaner that has died and I want to summon up the courage to put some rubber gloves on, go to the council house, and dump it on their desk.
"I am woken by mice running around by bedroom and have woken neighbours up smashing things with a baseball bat trying to get them.
"I'm a single 28-year-old woman and am having to set the traps and remove the mice myself. I have a tenant support officer but they say they can do nothing for me.
"I cannot sleep here anymore. They have been underneath my bath and on my kitchen sides.
"I keep all my food at my mum's house, I'm not sleeping, I've lost weight and I'm getting depressed.
"If it was not for my dogs in my bed there could be mice in there with me. And what if there are rats? They might bite me or my dogs and are full of disease.
"I can't even sit on my sofa because there are mice in there. I spend my life sat on my hard coffee table.
"I just don't have the money to deal with this but the council says it's my problem."
A spokesman for Bristol City Council said: "The cost of employing Bristol City Council pest control officers to treat mice infestation in tenants' homes compares favourably with services offered by local authorities in other core cities and private operators which are usually far more expensive.
"Bristol, along with other local authorities across the UK, has been obliged to discontinue some of the pest services it has historically offered to tenants and increase the cost of others in order to target limited resources on the greatest threats to public health and safety.
"Birmingham City Council, for example, no longer offers a mice infestation control service to its residents while Manchester City Council charges a similar amount to Bristol.
"We do offer a range of discounts to tenants on low incomes.
"Unfortunately, in this case the inquirer who is on Jobseeker's Allowance would not be eligible for financial assistance.
"We will be reviewing our charging system as part of the long-term budget review."