‘Britain’s biggest hoarder’ living among mummified rats and mountains of rubbish

A man dubbed "Britain's biggest hoarder" has been living with mummified rats and rubbish that reaches the ceiling after he started collecting in 1995.

Paul, 72, had to call in specialist cleaners to his house in Crosby, Merseyside, to deal with the piles of garbage.

He hadn’t used his bathroom or kitchen for years owing to the build-up.

He got around the issue by eating outside, going to cafes and showering elsewhere.

Paul and his mum bought the house 35 years ago after the death of his dad for £23,000, the Liverpool Echo reports.

OnChannel 5documentary Hoarders, he said: "Four and a half years after my mother died, in 1995, that's when I started collecting.

"I think in the back of my mind, I thought 'that will look nice in the house' a bit like what my mother had.

"And then it began to overwhelm me over time and got too much.

"The books are the first thing that started to pile up and I've got a couple thousand books now."

George Mensah of Merseyside House Clearance was called in to clear Paul's home, and had to climb over mounds of rubbish.

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He found rats that had become trapped in the house and then died, rotting and stiffening amongst the rubbish.

Some of the most commonly hoarded items, such as papers, books and clothing, were all found in the rooms of the house as George made his way through.

Roman artefacts, weapons and armour were also discovered during the clear out.

One bedroom was the only area of the house that George could properly access.

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Paul hoped that cleaners could shift his hoard for him, allowing him to sell the home and fund his retirement.

He was afterwards told that it would only be worth £110,000 on the market.

It took eight skips and nine days in total to clear Paul's house before potential buyers were able to come and view the property.

The reasons for hoarding are not yet fully understood, but mental health conditions included with it often include severe depression, psychotic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Helplines and support networks

If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed in this article or need to talk someone, the NHS Choices website lists the following helplines and support networks:

Samaritans operates a 24-hour service on available every day of the year by calling 116 123, and an email service is available at [email protected]

Childline, on 0800 1111, runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number do not show up in the phone bill.

PAPYRUS, 0800 068 4141, is an organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It does not have a helpline, but offers resources and links to other relevant information.

Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.

Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.

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