Hungry vermin bring down ceiling

Wilson Gardiner looks at the home in his ceiling caused by vermin eating through plastic water pipes in his roof space. INLM44-126gc
Wilson Gardiner looks at the home in his ceiling caused by vermin eating through plastic water pipes in his roof space. INLM44-126gc

A Lurgan man’s home of 16 years has been destroyed by vermin, who chewed through a water pipe in his roofspace causing a ceiling to collapse.

Wilson Gardiner woke on Thursday morning to the sound of running water in the bedroom at the back of his Housing Executive-maintained bungalow on Carrick Drive.

“The carpet was wet and water was running out of the ceiling,” said the 57-year-old.

“I don’t know whether it was mice or rats but they’d chewed through the water pipe in the roofspace.

“The water has then accumulated on the insulation and it’s eventually brought the ceiling down. There was water coming down through the ceiling in another of the bedrooms and it came down through the hot press as well.”

The result for Wilson, an employee at Craigavon Hospital, is that his house reeks of damp and as is heating is off he can’t dry it out. Carpet and underlay from the back bedroom have had to be dumped while water damage was caused to furnishings in both rooms at the back of the house. There’s also a gaping hole in his ceiling and major work is needed to reinstate his roofspace.

Although he lives in a Housing Executive house, and has been for the past 16 years, all the furnishings in the house are his own.

Wilson made a call to the Housing Executive immediately upon making the discovery. He’s since been visited by a plumber, electrician, an executive official and someone from pest control.

Wilson said: “The man from pest control went up and said he could see droppings but couldn’t tell if they’d come from a mouse or a rat. I’m told they’d moved for shelter because of the recent flooding.

“They’ve made short work of the pipes whatever they are,” said Wilson.

“About five years ago they changed the heating system and brought in PVC pipes. I’ve never heard of anything like this happening before. You’d think the pipes would have been more durable.”

Wilson’s adjoining neighbour Billy Beck is concerned the same thing could happen in his house given the vermin can get between the houses via an adjoining enclosed drain.

According to the Housing Executive, a report was received by the Lurgan office last Friday morning and the local office arranged for all of the relevant trades to visit the house as a priority.

A spokesperson said: “The leak has been repaired and electrics checked. The Housing Executive is supplying a dehumidifier to help the drying out process whilst vermin control is ongoing. A repair to the ceiling has been requested and is due to be completed by the end of this week.”