A DISTRAUGHT couple have been left shocked after a housing association decided to dump some of their possessions because they were deemed to be “hazardous to health”.

Richard Nicholson, 36, and partner Samantha King, 27, were evicted by social housing landlords Stonewater from the home they shared with Richard’s mum, Rosemary, after she fell behind with the rent on their flat on November 29.

But after the couple were allowed back in to the flat in Fisherton Street to collect their possessions on December 15, they were surprised to find electrical items broken or removed and their belongings strewn across the home.

Richard said: “We went to the flat and our stuff was all over the floor, there were baby bottles and DVDs that had been scattered.”

The couple said that their washing machine was also broken and their hoover had been removed from the flat.

“We were only given half an hour to clear out our stuff while people from Stonewater were there, but we had to spend that half an hour clearing up our things and weren’t able to get anything out.”

Having secured temporary accommodation through Wiltshire Council the pair continued to contact Stonewater, but on December 22 they were told they would no longer be able to gain access to the flat to retrieve their belongings.

Richard added: “I am not happy as they are stopping us from getting our stuff. I have now got to go out and get brand new stuff like a fridge freezer because I need one to store food for my baby daughter.”

Stonewater said the family were given enough time to collect their belongings, but Richard disputes the claim, saying it was only his mother who was given the time to pick up her possessions.

The housing association added that, following the eviction, a legal notice was put in place permitting them “to sell or dispose of goods”.

Regional director Tina Rea said: “We asked our contractors, Wessex, to enter the property and conduct a ‘sweep’ to ensure it was safe for works to take place.

“During their visit they found several items that were deemed hazardous to health which needed to be removed. This also meant that various items of furniture had to be moved to ensure the property was safe.

“We are sorry for any distress the property sweep may have caused however as a responsible landlord we consider it is essential to carry out these inspections to protect future residents from harm.”