A woman from Mitcham says she has spent £5,000 ridding her Circle Housing property heavily infested with bedbugs.

Jessica Edwards, 28, moved into the house with her two children in March, after the social housing provider promised to deal with the infestation before she moved in.

The mum-of-two said she had been warned about the pests before she moved in, but was reassured that the property would be fully treated. Due to pest control and various other work being carried out in the house, including re-plastering, taking up the carpets, and gardening, the family waited five months to move in.

But on moving in to the three-bed house, it became clear not all the parasitic insects had been destroyed.

In pest control documents seen by the Wimbledon Guardian, the external technician paid for by Ms Edwards described the infestation as at a ‘high level’ and ‘heavy’ in the front room, master bedroom, and two other bedrooms.

It said: “The first floor appeared worst affected with the room at the back of the house in particular, unfortunately I found bugs and spottings within the electrical trunking as well as behind the wallpaper.”

Ms Edwards said: “I understood the risk of the bedbugs coming back in a few months and decided I would deal with that then, as I needed to move out of my current flat.

"But I was not expecting them to be there when I moved in. They were everywhere, and you could see them crawling around. They were in every room of the house. There were dead ones too - bodies all over the floor.

“We moved in all of our furniture as we were told the bugs had been dealt with, which then meant we had to get rid of it all as well as our mattresses, bedding and pillows. Even after we got rid of the furniture, it took us four months to get rid of them, I can't imagine how long it would have taken if we hadn’t thrown it all away.

“After I got my own pest control in and we thought we had got rid of them, we tried living in the house. But even after two heat treatments and four sprays they were still alive.

“My daughter slept in her bed and the next morning she was covered in bed bug bites, I found two of the bugs under the mattress.

“I had to move in with the kids to my mother-in-law’s house. We were just meant to stay for a week while I cleaned the house, but we ended up staying for three months, and the whole time we were of course still paying rent."

She says other work due to be carried out during her five month wait had also not been completed. Carpet had only been ripped up in one room, leaving her to finish off the rest, she says. When ripping them up, thick clouds of black dust wafted through the house.

Re-plastering and painting were also not done.

Ms Edwards said she confronted a housing officer, who was 'surprised' it had not been done. Despite numerous phone calls and text messages exchanged between the two, Ms Edwards says none of the work has been done, and she has been told she will not be paid back the £5,000.

Ms Edwards said: “I have had to take out bank loans and credit cards, as well as catalogue cards to replace the furniture we had to throw away.

“I’m only 28 and said I would never take out a credit card, but the situation has forced me to.”

A Circle Housing spokesperson said: “We are sorry that Mrs Edwards has experienced these issues. However, she was made fully aware of the problem prior to agreeing to the mutual exchange – an arrangement where two social housing residents independently choose to swap homes with each other.

“We arranged for a pest control specialist to visit the property on three occasions before Mrs Edwards moved in to her new home and we also made her aware that further treatment could be required.

“Mrs Edwards sought advice from our pest control contractor to help her to tackle the problem before employing her own contractor.”