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  • Cat Burglars

    Hi all

    We're in a flat above what seemed like 2 sweet little old ladies. However, they place mouldy boxes in our shared garden to provide "shelter" for the neighbours cats.

    They litter the garden with chicken and cat food for the neighbours cats. Dishes can also appear in both next door neighbours gardens. Sometimes dishes appear at random up and down the street. It stinks

    Before refuse collection day, there are over bin bags full of incontinence pants, human excrement, urine, rotting chicken and cat food. It stinks. On a warm day, it really stinks.

    The property's roof is covered in pigeons and their droppings. I didnt think pigeons were that bad, but when you have enough of them to fill up Trafalger Square, you do get fed up of them.

    These 2 sweet little ladies claim they're in the neighbour watch scheme and are supporters of the RSPCA.


    Our cat went missing for two months and when we found our cat, it turned out it was stolen by them and locked up in their bedroom with no windows. Apparently, it turns out that they're wellknown to the Police as they have done this before.

    When we rescued our mistreated cat, we then had a constant barrage of visits from the RSPCA concerning allegations of our "gross cat abuse".".... the allegations where proven false.

    They broke into our flat on three occasions to steal our cat. On one occasion, my wife was inside the flat.

    They have prevented my wife from exiting our flat and then assaulted her while she was holding our 4 week old baby.

    When the RSPCA eventually became tired of them, it was followed by a barrage of visits from the Police concerning allegations of such "noise", apparently it was making their "ceiling collapse".... the allegations where proven false.

    When the Police eventually became tired of them, it was followed by a barrage of visits from the social visits concerning allegations of our "gross child abuse"..... and yet again the allegations where proven false.

    In the meantime, they carried out a campaign of denigration and hate against us, informing any of the authorities and the rest of the street. Fortunatley the authorities and the neighbours already knew they're a nuisance.

    These sweet little old pensioners who claim they have every ailment under the sun and show no remorse, yet they have been convicted by the police of burglary, assault and harassement. We have never risen up to them or caused them trouble. But,... the old girls still remain. We decided to move, and after several months we have finally found a buyer. Once we found somewhere nice to buy, we'll be moving (and with our cat).

    The sweet little old ladies from downstairs will hear from us again after we're gone. We have already instructed to sue them for nuisance and interfering with the enjoyment of our property etc, etc.

    Good things come to those who wait.

    I'll keep you posted.

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum rekless

    Sorry you're here with such troubles though. These two seem like quite complex individuals living below you...

    Can I ask have you taken any steps so far with your Local Authority's Environmental Health Dept? (EHO). You need to ring them today if you haven't already and ask for help/advice.

    The waste that these two are leaving is an extreme health hazard to humans as well as attracting every other sort of unwanted visitor too (e.g. rats) - grab your council's attention if you need to and tell them you've seen a rat, this will gee them up to visit and clear up, it normally speeds things up. You, your wife and baby are all greatly at risk from this, especially the pigeon problem.

    The Human waste is a SEVERE risk to all local residents and you both, contact your council and absolutely insist that something is done about it and it's removed and sorted immediately - if you need to get assertive about it, do so. If these two neighbours need to dispose of human products such as these it should be done properly using a sanitised and protected service (e.g. by use of proper sealed bags and bins that are kept minimum distances away from property). It is totally unnaceptable to live with this.

    Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 this is classed as a Statutory nuisance, e.g:

    (a) any premises in such a state as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance;

    (f) any animal kept in such a place or manner as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance;

    Keep diary logs of what's going on, add everything to them, it all adds up.

    What did the police do/say after your neighbours broke in?

    Also arrange for a visit from your local police Crime Protection Unit to help you protect your home, they normally advise for free.

    Pigeon Droppings - are extremely dangerous and in some cases lethal (the dust if you breathe them in etc) - the council etc have a duty to do something about this and put up measures to prevent the pigeons from roosting there etc. You do own your home from your post, so the LA is the way to go.

    Sorry about all the questions, just getting a picture of what's going on for you all.

    Anyway, please come back often, you'll get lots of support here Hope you manage to find a new place to move soon, but in the meantime you may have to live with this for a considerable time (fingers crossed you don't have to).


    • #3
      Hi rekless and welcome to the Forum

      Did you ever watch "The Life of Grime" on BBC1? On the last series, there was an elderly woman living alone, apart from all her cats. The property was in a terrible state and unfit for human habitation. The Environmental Health department (EH) came in and cleaned all the property and discussed with her the hygiene issues around the cats.

      I think your problems are definitely one for the EH, they can also make appropriate referrals to Social Services as these women are possibly having difficulties with independent living (especially if they are unable to dispose of incontinence pads, faeces and urine properly).

      If you are in the process of selling your home, then beware: you are likely to have to disclose the complaints between your neighbours form hell (NFH) and you on the Sellers form. This may put buyers off or, alternatively, they may try to haggle the price down. It's something to be aware of.

      Let us know how you're getting on. Good luck.


      • #4
        Hi Rekless and welcome

        Sorry to hear about your situation Your neighbours sound as though they are in need of help It's easy to be sympathetic towards the plight of the old but as we've seen on a number of occasions, sometimes the elderly are just as likely as any other age group to have NFH amongst them.

        I can only echo the advice already given by Holly and Matthew. Something needs to be done about this pair, they are a danger to others and themselves. Considering the fact that they have been convicted of burglary, assault and harrassment you'd have thought that it was plain that they need some sort of support in order to prevent them from continuing to be a nuisance and a danger to others.

        "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi


        • #5
          I would be more inclined to agree with Holly and approach social services before running up a huge legal bill. They're whole manner seems to be what you would call "eccentric" to say the least and sounds more like a mental degeneration rather than simply a spiteful attitude. I think a visit from social services to assess the situation may prove more beneficial as these ladies obviously need help. Legal proceedings will probably not get you anywhere except to run up a big bill for you. They may not have any money to offer as compensation and, in any event, you will have left the property having found a willing buyer so your damages will be extremely limited.

          Also, if you are only instigating proceedings after you leave so that you don't officially have to declare them to your Buyer, you can still be held fully liable for withholding the information and you could, in turn, be sued.

          Having said that, it seems you would have to be completely blind not to see the rubbish etc so it would appear that your new Buyer is aware of the situation.

          It's a difficult problem and one that is not likely to be resolved easily. The elderly can be difficult to deal with and any firm action taken by the Courts can always be construed as unsympathetic and cruel. You only had to look at the case of Mr. Trebus on A Life of Grime to see how the public reacted to the treatment of an elderly man. He had a house so chock full of rubbish he couldn't get in it and it was actually causing the walls to bulge out. His back garden was filled with so much rubbish attracting rats that the Council regularly had to politely go round, politely serve notices, politely take abuse from him and then, at the tax payers expense, politely clear up the enormous health hazard he was creating. If he had been 30 people would have had a fair amount of negative things to say about him. Because he was elderly, he was considered to be a bit of a hero for standing up for his rights.

          You are lucky you are moving. Just think of it this way: you have your whole life ahead of you with your wife and baby in what will be probably just one of a number of better and better homes. What do these old ladies have left?


          • #6

            I grew up in Crouch End where Mr Trebus lived, he waS(as you can imagine) notorious around our way and he might have been an old fella by the time Life of Grime was aired, but I can assure you he started his habits young!!!! I remember when his wife used to live with him and kids, and they just upped and left him because of his ways. He used to wander round Crouch End sticking his head into every dustbin....and people used to dump their rubbish in his garden deliberately. But he was not well, everyone knew this BUT social services left him and left him until, well you see how it ended up...My mum had a shop and she used to give him food, bless him. I cried my eyes out when I saw him on the telly, it was like a part of my childhood had come back to me. He was a symbol of how Crouch End used to be, really rough, tough, lots off odd bods hanging around, a bit dangerous. Now it is as trendy as Hampstead, with property prices almost to match....

            Can I also tell you that the other woman who lived alone with the cats, also lived in Crouch End, and we knew her as Catwoman, the smell that used to waft behind her.... MOST PUNGENT.... you would not believe she used to be a teacher (thankfully not in my school)

            Anyway, this is way off topic....

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            • #7
              Hi again

              Thanks for the advice and supporting words. I have in the past tried the advice as suggested by the previous posts, but to no avail. Other neighbours have done so also, and failed. A community beat officer is also involved, but seems to take more of a mediator/intermediary approach (which I do consider only helpful where both parties can be rational and reasonable).

              I didn't make it clear abut the "convictions" I refer to in my last post. I should have been more accurately described as; the Police served an Anti-Harassment Order with a very stern warning of jail, and/or care home, on the NFH below if they persist in unlawful harassment. It was also intended to prevent further criminal behaviour, such as assault and burglary. It has worked to a certain extent i.e. no more assaults and burglaries, but only because we steer well clear of them. My wife still does not feel safe go out unless she is with me however. The campaign of denigration still goes on, despite the NFH being warned of this also. To get evidence of this is extremely hard, although many neighbours do not like the NFH, they are reluctant to get involved and I don't wish to push people into doing so.

              I do fell that you do have to be careful with what you complain about. I'm sure once the authorities think there are many complaints coming from both parties! The authorities will simply put it down as warring neighbours and I'm sure I'll never get anything sorted! So I will only inform the authorities if it is absolutely necessary i.e. a criminal offence rather than a civil offence.

              In my experience it seems to me that the Police are fine at issuing such orders, but are not so keen on following up or acting on them, afterall it wouldn’t look good jailing a pensioner would it.

              I am sure that the next owner shouldn't experience the same problems, unless they have a cat (and wish to move). We have lived here for several years and the trigger to the problems we have experienced started when we indicated are intentions to move (due to new baby). The NFH does have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with cats, especially ours. Their modus operandi would always seem to be in preventing us from moving and consequently taking our cat. They were okay’ish neighbours before this, rather a bit too interfering though. I am sure that once we are gone, the problems we and other neighbours have experienced will cease, simply because we are gone. It does seem that the NFH have calmed down a bit since the sold sign has gone up, (no slamming doors, banging, usual NFH behaviour etc). Maybe they have started to finally accept that there is nothing they can do; the pigeons are starting to look hungry as well.

              We have been advised to move first prior to litigation, since the problems will only escalate during litigation if we are still here. We do have a case on a no win no fee basis where costs can also be claimed against the NFH. If the NFH are not mortgaged to the hilt and there is equity, there can be compensation. It’s a shame that more people aren't willing to go through with it, if they did and there was a lot of success I'm sure there would be less NFHs.

              I shouldn't need to inform the new buyer of the difficulties unless it was to do with a property dispute or complaints about the property which could affect the property, clearly a cat isn’t a fixture or fitting It very nearly did turn into a property dispute, but instead of giving them the opportunity to disagree on a joint payment of a repair, I offered to pay all of it as a gesture of goodwill (desperation to get out), rather than delay the sale of my property through litigation. However, I will still have to inform the new owner about the smell from the bins. But I'm hoping a gift of plastic bins to the dear souls will resolve this, and at the same time provide the NFH another sweetener as well.

              Anyway, we have found a nice house today which we will put an offer in. You never know, by the time we're settled in, we'll be enjoying it too much to bother chasing up on litigation and rather put it behind us a experience. Shame if we did pursue, it would send a clear warning to other NFHs. Can you imagine, "your home is at risk if you're NFH!"

              Following is a letter from the environmental health. Maybe it will be of help to someone else. Incidentally, there is only legislation for odours in commercial properties and the legislation for human waste in the commercial sector is far stricter than residential. The pigeons weren’t a problem at the time of the complaint, but I do have it on good authority (another neighbour) they are also being resolved by the Environmental Health at this moment.

              Let you all know when I move



              Dear ## ####

              Further to my investigations regarding the above premises I can advise as follows.

              I have searched the pest control history and can confirm that there is no significant rodent activity in your area and that no baiting has been carried out to nearby properties.

              I have instructed #### not to feed stray cats with meat scraps and have not witnessed any such problems during my visits. The dried food left in the forecourt is not causing a risk to public health or a nuisance which would be actionable under the above statutes.

              With regard to odours from the bin bags I have written to #### requesting that any special waste likely to cause problems, such as incontinence pads, be double bagged. It is permitted to put incontinence pads in the household waste for collection by the refuse disposal contractor.

              I have been inside #### property and agree that the pet and food odours would be considered disagreeable by most people. The above legislation does not include provision for dealing with domestic odours. I can confirm that the property is not verminous.

              I regret that I cannot be of further assistance at present. If more extreme problems are caused in future, such as flies breeding on rotted food, this could be classed as prejudicial to health and would be actionable by this department. Please do not hesitate to contact me if this occurs.

              Yours sincerely


              Senior Environmental Health Officer