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Coronavirus Kent: Gran's health fears as garden covered in human poo

A furious grandmother is kicking up a stink after work to unblock sewage pipes left her back garden covered in human poo.

Debbie Chaucer, 55, says the excrement was spread across the patio outside her home for five hours and posed a health risk amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Works to remove the blockage left the garden covered in human faeces
Works to remove the blockage left the garden covered in human faeces

She had been visited this morning by a workman contracted by Southern Water, which says people have been flushing "inappropriate items" after running out of loo roll because of a panic-buying frenzy.

He carried out some work to unblock a manhole behind her house in Prioress Road, Canterbury, and then "disappeared", leaving the unsightly mess.

With lockdown rules in place, she says it put her back garden off-limits at a time when she needed it most.

Speaking before it was cleared, she said: "I've got the whole street's poo in my back garden.

"It stinks rotten. It would be bad enough at the best of times, but with this pandemic I can't help think it's a health hazard.

Debbie Chaucer says the back garden was a source of fresh air during lockdown
Debbie Chaucer says the back garden was a source of fresh air during lockdown

"Someone's said the virus can spread in faeces, and now I have a whole garden covered in it."

Mrs Chaucer says a worker arrived at her house about 10am to say there was a blockage in the street.

He established the manhole in her garden was full, so set about trying to unblock it.

But the efforts forced the human waste to back up into the garden.

Mrs Chaucer said: "He said he wouldn't leave it like that but he just disappeared.

"It's really worrying. My daughter has special needs and is struggling to deal with not going out.

"I had told her the only safe place is the back garden, but obviously that can’t happen now."

Debbie Chaucer fears the human waste could be a health hazard amid the coronavirus outbreak
Debbie Chaucer fears the human waste could be a health hazard amid the coronavirus outbreak

Southern Water - which runs wastewater services in the county - sent more workmen to clear-up the mess shortly after 3pm.

A spokesman said: “We’re sorry to hear that this customer didn’t feel we had properly cleaned up after unblocking the sewer she shares with her neighbours.

"Even during the current lockdown our teams are attending customer premises and keeping customers’ essential services working.

"Partly as a result of coronavirus keeping people at home, we are experiencing more than a usual number of blocked residential sewers keeping us very busy.

"Another factor has been people flushing inappropriate items after running out of toilet paper due to hoarding by panic buyers.

"Now more than ever it is important that people remember that only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed – not kitchen roll and especially not wet wipes.”

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