Pensioner’s woe at junk mountain

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An elderly man claims his life is being ruined by a chronic hoarder who continues to top up mountains of junk despite years of help from public services.

Jack Flint, aged 85, is furious neighbour Jennifer Grounsell has moved out of the house she privately owns on Colver Road, Highfield, into a housing association flat, yet returns at night with trash.

The retired engineer, who has epilepsy and other health problems, says the rubbish is a fire, health and tripping hazard which is ruining his later life.

He is unable to reach his outside loo and his black bin goes unemptied for weeks because he can’t manhandle it down their shared passage, which is piled high with waste. And the huge array of hoarded items - which includes food - stinks, attracts vermin and is a big fire risk, he claims.

Sheffield City Council promised to move the rubbish into a skip on October 14, but it was cancelled and has not been rearranged.

Jack said: “I feel abandoned. All these people will do everything for her but they won’t do anything for me. It’s left me depressed. What about my rights?

“Whenever my children say they’ll move stuff they are warned they need the police there to avoid a confrontation. We’re just going round in circles.” Daughter-in-law Carole Flint said: “They have these ‘multi-agency’ meetings but they are all chasing their tails and nothing ever gets done. How much public money has been spent on wages for no result? It’s shocking.”

Ms Grounsell’s yards contain carpets, footballs, soft toys, plastic bottles, suitcases, cutlery, carrier bags, bicycles, prams and half a motorbike. It also has 12 wheelie bins and several blue boxes. But when Jack contacted Veolia he was told she could keep them because she was using them “for storage”.

He added: “A lot of people think it started when her youngest daughter died aged 21 of a brain tumour. But she’s been doing it since she moved in 30 years ago. My wife was very tolerant of it, but since she died six years ago the rubbish has become a huge problem for me, especially as I get older.”

Ms Grounsell also has a dog which is seen unmuzzled and off the lead - in breach of sentence following a criminal conviction for breaking a dog control order in 2012. The animal is often left loose in the shared passage - the only place where there is any room for it - posing a risk to Jack and visitors, he claims.

Action

A Sheffield Council spokesman said: “After several meetings with key services we have served a notice on Ms Grounsell to remove certain items from the rear yard of 16 Colver Road and from the shared passageway between 14 and 16 Colver Road within 21 days.”

A spokeswoman from Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We can confirm that Ms Grounsell is in receipt of support from mental health services. The Trust will continue to work with agencies across the city to secure a satisfactory outcome for both parties to what is clearly a very difficult situation.”

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said they were investigating reports that a neighbour’s dog was in breach of a court order.

A Veolia spokesman said: “We are not permitted to enter a private property without the support of the relevant enforcement authorities and will be working with Sheffield City Council to resolve the situation.”

A spokesman for Paul Blomfield MP said: “We raised Mr Flint’s concerns directly with all of the relevant council services and agencies, and are pressing to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible.”

A spokesman for Mr Flint’s GP, Dr Victoria Bowery of Belgrave Medical Centre, said: “It is the practice’s policy not to comment.”

The Star attempted to contact Ms Grounsell but received no response.