Now bedbug plague spreads to Wiltshire and Somerset: Horrified locals in Swindon throw out infested mattresses, while toddler is left riddled with bites at Butlin’s in Minehead – after outbreaks in Luton, London and Manchester
Reports of bedbugs are emerging from new parts of the country amid concerns a plague of the blood-sucking critters in France has reached the UK.
Residents in Wiltshire, have thrown out mattresses and sofas after discovering infestations in their homes, while a toddler was left riddled with bites at a Somerset holiday resort.
Disgusted commuters and homeowners had already complained of suspected sightings on the London Underground, as well as in Luton in Bedfordshire and Manchester.
Among those temporarily driven out of their homes in Swindon was Antonia Selby, her partner and their three children, after eldest Odin, two, became covered in red spots.
A search of their flat revealed a throng of bugs under their sofa.
‘The council sent a pest control company who sprayed the room and we had to stay out for five hours,’ the 28-year-old told the Sun.
‘It’s been done twice now but they come back after a couple of days.
‘Some neighbours have had worse infestations and even thrown their mattresses out with a sign warning people not to take it.’
Another local warned online: ‘I personally know of someone in a Swindon council house that was the cleanest that you could find but became infested with them when someone that they knew inadvertently brought them to the house.’
A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: ‘Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to treat and, in some cases, it may take several visits from pest controllers to eradicate the problem.
‘Our tenants have been advised of what action they can take to mitigate the risk of an infestation.’
An infestation on the opposite side of the country in a room at Butlin’s in Minehead, Somerset, came to light when another two-year-old was left with angry red dots and bumps over ‘every area of his little body’.
Mum Laura Perona-Wright, 38, said she and her husband Adam, 42, a project manager, initially thought son Vinnie had been mobbed by midges.
‘His neck, arms, behind his knees, his groin, his back – he was in pain from scratching and upset,’ she told MailOnline.
‘I looked under his bed sheet and found a very worn, disgusting mattress protector.’
The couple, who were on a ‘Spooktober’ mini-break with their two children, complained at reception but were told no insects had been found after a check was carried out.
Not convinced, they conducted their own investigation – with horrifying results.
‘I lifted up the sheets to discover they had replaced the disgusting mattress protector but not even vacuumed the mattress,’ said Mrs Perona-Wright.
‘It was covered in hair and sand and immediately – I mean within 20 second of looking – I found a living and a dead bug.
‘It became clear that the bed was absolutely riddled with bed bugs, lots of them. My poor boy was pickled. He had suffered literally hundreds of bites.’
Vinnie was moved into his four-year-old sister Leni’s room for the rest of their stay as she hadn’t been bitten.
Butlins, which apologised and said it would be contacting the family, said there had been no further reports of bedbugs.
Suspicions of a surge in cases was heightened yesterday when the chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies said members were running out of the ‘most effective’ bedbug bite treatment.
Dr Leyla Hannbeck said the availability of hydrocortisone, which eases itchiness and inflammation caused by bites, was now ‘patchy’ across the country.
Britain has been on alert for the bugs, which are the size of a grain of rice, after the outbreak across the Channel described by a French MP as making life there a ‘living hell’.
Mattresses and furniture with soft coverings have been dumped in streets in cities including Paris and Marseille as desperate hotels and homeowners try to eradicate the scourge.
Convenient transport links by road, rail, air and sea with France have raised concerns, particularly as sports fans have been travelling there for the Rugby World Cup tournament. England are the last home nation in the tournament, having reached the semi-finals by beating Fiji on Sunday.
Experts have warned bedbugs have grown resistant to insecticides, making it harder to get rid of them.
David Cain, founder of BedBugs Limited pest controllers in London, said he was being called out to 15 to 20 cases every week, compared to four a week in 2007.
He added: ‘The problem is worse now than it’s been since probably the 1930s and 1940s.’
Abbie Glover, of Pest Control Manchester, said the number of reports of bedbugs had increased ‘30-40 per cent’ in the last few weeks.
‘A lot more companies have been calling up, such as hotels, to find out about the proper procedures to deal with them,’ she added.
‘Bedbugs are one of the worst pests as they are so hard to get rid of.’