Homes, G4S style: Rubbish, rising damp... and 'roaches'

Another shambles as security giant leaves asylum seeker living in squalor

An asylum seeker with a five-month-old baby claims she was placed in a property by the private contractor G4S that was infested with cockroaches and slugs. The woman, who was trafficked to the UK and sold into prostitution before seeking asylum, claims she and her baby were left in the house for weeks before the local council intervened to ensure they were rehoused.

Leeds City Council contacted G4S, and their property sub-contractors Cascade, earlier this week after their inspectors found the property was a “Category 1 Hazard” and unfit for human habitation in its current condition. G4S holds contracts to supply accommodation to asylum contracts across much of England as part of the UK Border Agency’s COMPASS project.

The woman, known as Angela,  says she was “dumped” at the property after she refused to accept an alternative place offered to her on the basis that the filth, mould and damp there would pose a health risk to her child.

She made repeated complaints to both G4S and Cascade and was told by the firms that they had carried out their own inspections and were satisfied the accommodations was “decent”.

“One of the people said to me when I rang ‘slugs are not harmful, even if your baby eats one of them’” she told The Independent.

Angela, who was forced into prostitution after being trafficked to the UK in 2000, was initially housed in a “nice” one-bed flat by UKBA after seeking refuge from her handlers.

But when her son was born she was moved to an area contracted to G4S and sub-contracted to property firm Cascade. “When I came here I said ‘this house doesn’t look safe for me and my child to live in’, there were cockroaches and slugs,” Angela recalls. “They took me to another property and that was absolutely disgusting, worse than this one. The kitchen smells of wee, the whole place, words cannot describe I was crying, I was screaming”.

She claims she was told there were no more places so she had “no choice” but to go back to the house she has been in ever since, too scared to even lay her child on the floor. This case raises fresh concerns over the treatment of vulnerable people put in the care of G4S, a private firm with dozens of state contracts including the botched Olympics security contract. Its seven-year £211m deal with the UK Border Agency’s commercial arm was awarded in June this year.

Councillor Peter Gruen of Leeds City Council, said: “Property standards are clearly an issue with the portfolio of properties being used in Leeds under this contract; and G4S have undertaken to review the portfolio.” Andrew Gray, accommodation director at G4S said: “This property was inspected before the individual moved in and there was absolutely no damp problem and certainly no sign of pest infestation then”. He added its sub-contractor had “acted quickly to tackle the problem” replacing the washing machine which it blamed for damp. Cascade could not be reached for comment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there