Bexhill woman, 79, wakes to find bedbugs crawling on her

A 79-year-old woman with multiple health problems said she is suffering from sleep deprivation due to the infestation of bed bugs in her flat.

Thursday, 16th July 2020, 5:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th July 2020, 5:26 pm
Julie Camden-Field

Julie Camden-Field, who lives in Thalia House, London Road - a block of 88 flats housing elderly and vulnerable people - has been unable to sleep in her bed since June 5 because of the bugs.

She had been sleeping in her recliner chair in her lounge until July 4, when she was awoken to find eight bedbugs on her and a number of bites.

Julie said she has requested Optivo - the housing association that operates the flats - allow her to sleep in one of the two guest rooms but this has been refused.

She has also tried sleeping in an upright chair, but was again bitten, and in her car, but after two hours was disturbed by someone walking around the car park.

She has since returned to her flat.

She said: “I’m suffering from accumulated sleep deprivation since 4th July and fear for both my mental and physical health. Last Friday, 10th July, I phoned the national helpline of Optivo, my housing association, again requesting to sleep in a bed in a guest room.

"My scheme manager, who is working from home because of Covid-19, phoned me back to inform me that there was no way this would be permitted.

“I gather from other residents that bedbugs have been prevalent in several flats at Thalia House for at least two and a half years. Optivo have an appointed Pest Control Contractor

who has been visiting the various flats to treat the problem.

”I was severely bitten last night while sitting in my upright chair in my lounge, attempting to get some sleep.

“I also feel that unless the entire building is treated, the problem will continue, other residents will suffer and bedbugs could return to my flat.”

In response, a spokesman for Optivo said: "We are currently supporting one of our residents with a bed bug problem within her flat at Thalia House.

"We understand a pest issue like this can be very distressing and, as soon as it was reported, we called in pest control experts who carried out an assessment and treatment.

"We’ll continue to work with the resident to monitor the situation, and treatment will be ongoing until the issue is resolved.

"Bed bugs can appear in the cleanest of homes and we know it’s a growing problem across the country.

"Our staff have been in contact with residents, and we’re offering advice on how to prevent this problem spreading.”