A Clevedon community is ‘living with a nightmare’ because rats are occupying a home which has stood empty for years.

Homeowners in Marson Road have complained they can no longer open their windows through fear of rats getting in.

May McManus, who has lived there for 25 years, says her next door neighbour’s property has ‘gone to rack and ruin’ due to no-one living there for more than a decade.

She told the Times the rats have started breeding in the semi-detached house due to its poor condition and, despite North Somerset Council placing a Community Protection Warning (CPW) on the property’s owner, nothing has yet been done.

May, aged 64, said: “I have had to shut myself in the bedroom with my dog for the past two weeks because I am absolutely paranoid.

“It is like living with a nightmare.

“It is affecting my way of life, health and enjoyment of my own home.

“I have lived here for 25 years and don’t get involved with what the neighbours do but the house has just gone to rack and ruin.”

“About two years ago I saw a rat in my garden so I immediately called pest control.

“I could hear scuttling because this house is attached by cellars and an attic and the airing cupboard door was rattling.

“I used to go in when I could and clean the front garden which seemed to quieten things down a little bit.

“About three or four months ago I called again and said there were rats in the garden.

“Rats were coming up pipes and going to my dog’s dish in the middle of the night to get her biscuits.

“The council came about three weeks ago and had a look around but no-one has actually been in that house.

“I feel like I’m at the end of my tether – I just feel like running away.”

Other neighbours have also said they have seen rats at the property and discussions have taken place over starting a petition to get the house cleared.

Despite these concerns, North Somerset Council says it has not found ‘any substantial evidence’ of rats in the area but officers are due to return this week to look inside the house.

A council spokesman said: “We have been working with the owner to try and resolve the issues at the property.

“The owner has been given a CPW and we have offered to help clear the property and garden but this has not been accepted.

“The owner has however agreed to clear the rear garden and is allowing council officers to inspect the whole property this week.

“We are aware of the neighbour’s concerns about rats but have not found any substantial evidence.

“We will look at this again when we visit this week and take any action needed.”