Worthing man in despair over water leak caused by seagull’s nest

A former Royal Welch Fusilier who lives in Worthing said he has suffered three electric shocks due to a leak in his flat caused by a bird’s nest.

Shaun Llewellyn rents a flat in Chapel Road and said for the past nine weeks he had been forced to sleep on his sofa or floor due to water cascading from a light fixture and smoke alarm in his bedroom.

The 49-year-old said he had repeatedly gone to his letting agents, Hove Lets, to get the problem sorted, but his requests have been ignored.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

“I’ve had three electric shocks and the one I had this morning put me out for four hours,” said Shaun.

Shaun Llewellyn in his Worthing flat where water is coming through the ceiling due to a bird's nest. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

“I’ve got bowls, blankets and black bags down to collect the water. I am so angry and frustrated and it is affecting my mental state due to lack of sleep.”

Shaun said the water leak started when heavy rain hit Sussex just over a couple of months ago.

He said he called Hove Lets and was told someone would come and have a look – but no-one came.

“They didn’t send someone out for three weeks,” said Shaun, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Shaun Llewellyn in his Worthing flat where water is coming through the ceiling caused due to a bird's nest. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

“And when someone came out, they said they couldn’t do anything as a seagull’s nest was in the gutter and nests are protected by the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.

“But the law says as long as you don’t kill the birds you can remove them.”

Shaun, who lives on his own in the two-bed flat, said he has found independent contractors who are happy to fix the issue, but Hove Lets has declined these offers.

He said these contractors told him the gull’s nest has caused the downpipe to become blocked, causing the leak to come through his roof.

“I just want something done. I don’t want people to be in the same situation as I am,” he added.

“I have cried every night and sleeping on the sofa or floor is aggravating my back condition, for which I’m on medication for.”

Shaun said he had to go to hospital on Friday night as he was experiencing heart palpitations due to stress over the leak.

In response, Hove Lets said it has been in daily contact with Shaun and has sent out various contractors, including its drainage firm, roofing firm, builder, electrician and pest control firm to resolve the issue.

And while it understands the ‘severity and awful situation’, it said it has to abide by the law when removing the birds, which it needs a licence for, which could take up to 45 days to be granted.

“My colleague has been speaking to Natural England – whom the licence is granted by – since the start of the problem to seek advice. And each time, she has been told there’s no way to expedite the licence,” said a spokesman.

“With the weather getting worse and problems with the water ingress affecting the fire alarms, my colleague approached Private Sector Housing in Worthing to be told they couldn’t help and couldn’t expedite it.

“She then spoke with Wildlife Licencing at Natural England and they advised they couldn’t expedite it despite the urgent circumstances

“We are doing all we can in this situation, but we have to abide by the law as seagulls are protected under the UK law which stipulates it is illegal to disturb, destroy or move any active seagull nest.”

As a gesture of goodwill, the spokesman said a new mattress was ordered for Shaun as his was ruined.

And the agency offered to send a cleaner round to wet vacuum the carpets, but Shaun declined this offer.

It added that it has been advised this week the nest is now empty so it has asked pest control to return and remove it.