Last resident’s plea for action over uninvited house guests

The last tenant on an all but demolished South Tyneside council estate has pleaded for help to move to a new abode, claiming: “I’m a prisoner in my own home.”

By Gareth Crickmer
Wednesday, 27 March, 2019, 05:00
Eskdale Drive last tenant Jacqueline Shepard is concerned over house move.

But disabled grandmother Jacqueline Shepard, 59, says she is not home alone in Eskdale Drive, Jarrow.

Instead the mum-of-four claims she is suffering an infestation of mice, attracted by the beacon of warmth and shelter provided by her home, which is the only habitable property left in the street.

Eskdale Drive last tenant Jacqueline Shepard is concerned over house move.

The divorcee says she has been forced to swap bedrooms and that the experience is affecting her mental health.

She alleges four proposed dates to move her into a new home – two in 2018 and January and March this year – came and went without action.

The former cleaner, who suffers a serious muscle-wasting condition that requires her to use a walker indoors and a wheelchair outside, is urging South Tyneside Council to intervene.

Ms Shepard said: “I want the council to get me out of here. I’m trapped in my own home. I can’t get out. I feel like I’ve been forgotten about.

Eskdale Drive last tenant Jacqueline Shepard is concerned over house move.

South Tyneside Council say they are working with Ms Shepard on both the infestation and new home issue.

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Ms Shepard added: “The only houses left on the entire estate are those on either side of me, and the people who lived there moved out at least a year ago, there’s only me left.

“I woke up recently and spotted mouse droppings on my bed sheets. Pest control came out and told me that the mice would be attracted to my home because it is the only one with any heat.

“This is all affecting my mental health, and I can’t sleep or eat properly.”

Ms Shepard moved into the three-bed semi-detached in August 1998, but around three years ago was informed by the council of its demolition plans.

She admits she has been offered other council properties, but says none were in a suitable part of South Tyneside.

Ms Shepard hopes to move into a new-build on the same estate, but alleges none have yet been fitted with the stairlift or outside access ramp she requires.

A spokesman for the council said: “We have been working with Jacqui to find her a suitable home.

“She has been allocated one of the new-build properties very close to her existing home, and adaptations will be carried out to enable her to move into this new home.

“We appreciate this has been a difficult time for Jacqui, and we will continue to work with her to make her move as stress-free as possible and will deal with any issues she is having in her current home.”