• Clare Knight said her family home has become overrun by the bugs
  • The 41-year-old’s legs are covered in bites after being woken by pests 
  • She claims the infestation has grown despite calling in pest control 
  • Experts say cold winter weather could lead to growth in number of bugs

Bed bugA mother of three was forced to burn her daughter’s cot and throw out furniture after her home became overrun by bed bugs.

Clare Knight and her family have left unable to sleep at night and covered in bites since the insects infested her home in Mitcham, south west London last summer.

The 41-year-old called in pest controllers to kill the bugs but says they were back within weeks – and have made life in their home a nightmare.

‘It’s awful. We were waking up in the middle of the night itching, put the light on and see these little black things running around.

‘It started out just a few. Then we realised what they were and we contacted the housing association and said what was going on and they sent someone round, but it seemed to get worse.

‘I have been to the doctor, I have been to the health visitor who was disgusted at how we have to live like this.’

Ms Knight, a single mother, lives in the house with children who are aged between one and 25. Her three-year-old granddaughter and her son’s girlfriend also live in the property owned by a housing association.

After failing to get rid of the pests, she burned her daughter’s cot along with other furniture but says she can still see the bugs coming through skirting boards.

‘I called for a quote and was told just to treat three rooms would cost me over £1,000.

‘I can’t believe how L&Q have left us to live,’ she added.

London and Quadrant, which owns the house, sent pest-controllers to treat the property in July, but failed to exterminate them.

An L&Q spokesman said: ‘We appreciate that Miss Knight is experiencing a pest problem, however our tenancy agreements make it clear that infestations within a property are the responsibility of the tenant.

‘We did treat the property in July as a one-off, goodwill gesture, but Miss Knight has since notified us that pests have returned.”

‘We have agreed to contact the neighbours to see if they are experiencing similar issues.’

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