The Gloucester Old Spot pig inside the council house
Derby Homes attracted the attention of the world’s media when they evicted a tenant who was using his home as a pig sty for his Gloucester Old Spot
Man evicted after turning home into pig sty
Mr X had been a tenant with Derby Homes since 2006, and despite some minor tenancy breaches for failing to keep his garden in a reasonable condition and an issue with outstanding rent arrears, there had rarely been cause for concern.
However, in August of last year, Shirley, one of our arrears officers, was making a routine call in the Sinfin area when she noticed a very unpleasant smell coming from the property. She reported this and throughout August and September we sent letters requesting access and visited the property frequently, but in each instance our requests for access were ignored.
We then had a letter from a neighbour saying that she had spotted Shetland ponies in the garden and believed that there was a pig in the house. We immediately contacted the Environmental Services team at Derby City Council and the RSPCA and visited the property several times, but again Mr X refused access and it was decided that we would start legal proceedings. The due processes were followed and a court hearing application was made at Derby County Court.
In early November, the RSPCA visited the property and saw the two Shetland ponies in the back garden. This time, one of Mr X’s family was present, and following a conversation, the ponies were taken away. Despite the strong smell, no officer from any authority had seen any evidence of a pig.
In early January, the county court ruled that the tenant must allow access on 17 January. However, again Mr X failed to co-operate and an immediate request was made for an eviction warrant, which was granted for 15 March.
On the day of the eviction, our officers were shocked when they opened the front door and were confronted by a huge black-spotted pig and a dog. The ground floor of the house was literally a pig sty, with faeces and urine throughout, chewed furniture, and rooms heaped with rubbish. Whilst we were there, Mr X arrived and loaded the animals into his Renault Megane and drove them away.
I have never seen anything like the mess that we saw on that day. The council environmental health team cleared eight three-tonne lorries full of rubbish and waste, including a dead dog in the dustbin, and we are now waiting to get the keys so we can get in and access the cost of the repairs.
Following the eviction, the media interest has been immense, and the pig, fondly named Babe by the media, has now been temporarily re-homed at the Burton Wildlife Rescue and Animal Centre. The press coverage has developed a lot of interest and comment. There has been sympathy for the pig from the public, and some of the most appalling pig jokes have been doing the rounds including the tenant being in ‘runt’ arrears and, given the international coverage we have received, the pig being a globetrotter!
Joking apart though, there is a serious message behind this saga: if someone does not look after their property, refuses access to our staff, abuses their neighbours or does not pay their rent, they will be evicted – no matter how long it takes.
Thankfully such cases are rare.