Our bedbug nightmare: Parents reveal how insects would crawl into their young children’s ears as they endured vile infestation at their home of seven years which they had to flee
- Mark Henderson, 27, and Chelsea Francis, 26, have been terrified to leave their one-bed property in Fulham in case they pass the bedbugs onto others
- Hammersmith & Fulham council moved the family into a hotel on Thursday
A family has finally been moved out of their council flat after a severe bedbug infestation that left the parents unable to work.
Mark Henderson, 27, and Chelsea Francis, 26, feared passing the insects to others so refused to leave their one-bed property in Fulham, south-west London.
The couple – parents to Ewan, two, and Riley, four weeks – have been forced to live on £900-a-month benefits, since Ms Francis has been declared unfit to work due to suffering with epilepsy.
Hammersmith & Fulham council finally moved the family into a hotel on Thursday while a new home is looked for.
Pictured: Toddler, Ewan. his family has finally been moved out of their council flat after a severe bedbug infestation
Pictured: Four-week-old baby Riley, who has also suffered from bedbug bites
Handyman Mr Henderson said: ‘It was horrific having to live there. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
‘Me, my partner and two kids couldn’t leave the house because we are covered in bedbugs and didn’t want to pass them on.
‘I don’t want people to think we’re dirty – the house was spotless. We’re clean people but the bedbugs were just everywhere.’
He added: ‘My kids get bedbugs in their ears – it’s absolutely disgusting.
‘We couldn’t go to out as a family.
‘There was funfair the other day that we had planned to go to, but we couldn’t. The bedbugs are in their prams, in their clothes – they are even in the fridge.
‘We just want to live our lives and be able to go outside. No one should have to go through this.’
Bedbug bites covered mum of two Chelsea Francis’s back, the family has now been moved to a hotel and new accommodation will be found for them soon
Bedbug bites on Ms Francis’s hand and wrist. She said: ‘It was awful and so gross, knowing that you were getting crawled on the whole time. It was like a nightmare’
Ms Francis added: ‘The bedbugs weren’t budging. They get in wardrobes and in my bed. They were everywhere.
‘It was awful and so gross, knowing that you were getting crawled on the whole time. It was like a nightmare.’
Hammersmith & Fulham Council said officers had visited the property nine times since 2018 over the issue.
And a spokesperson confirmed the family had been moved yesterday and new accommodation was being sought.
Mr Henderson said of their first night in a hotel: ‘Being able to have a bath and a shower and coming out knowing you won’t be sitting back in bedbugs was amazing.
‘It’s the best sleep we’ve ever had. Both the kids slept like logs. We are so relieved to be out of there.’
A council spokesperson said: ‘We have acted swiftly [on October 19] and moved the family into a hotel, as we find them a new, permanent home.
‘We are now working closely with the family to make sure that they have the daily support they need – including a dedicated social worker, any clothing, bedding or furniture they need, meals, as well as financial help to allow them to buy other food and supplies.’
The problem got so severe that there walls were smeared with the remains of squashed critters
Bedbugs covered furniture in their council flat in Hammersmith and Fulham
London is in the grip of bedbug invasion, with the pests having been spotted across the underground and bus services.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the issue was a ‘real source of concern’ and TfL officials are already in conversation with the Parisian Metro over what ‘lessons could be learnt’.
And a Bedfordshire council has received an ‘alarming number of calls’ and bugs have been sighted on a bus in Manchester as fears grow of an outbreak similar to the one in France.
This comes after a family who spent £700 on a Butlin’s ‘Spooktober’ mini-break suffered a nightmare when their two-year-old son was bitten hundreds of times by bedbugs
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