Britain’s naughtiest animals – from out-of-control squirrels to destructive dogs

By Staff

While our beloved pets are an important part of our family, it’s fair to say they can cause an awful lot of damage. Meanwhile, one estate in London is being overrun by naughty squirrels

Brazen squirrels are causing chaos as they use scaffolding to scarper around a London housing estate and steal food from people’s flats.

Residents at Sumner Buildings in Southwark, central London, says the cheeky rodents have the run of the estate after building work started 19 months ago.

The City of London Corporation erected scaffolding 18 months ago to replace the 100-year-old windows and doors. But residents say the rodents have taken over and claim that deadlines have repeatedly been missed.

Prof Mark Miodownik, MBE, who shares his top-floor flat with his wife Ruby Wright and their two children, says the rodents have taken over.

The 54-year-old Professor of Engineering, who has lived on the estate for more than 25 years, said: “The squirrels are constantly up and down the scaffolding.

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“If you leave a window open, they’re always poking their little heads in. They have the run of the place now – they think the scaffolding is all for them. They love it.

“If you leave windows open, they come in and steal snacks.”

Though Prof Midownik says he doesn’t blame the squirrels themselves and doesn’t want to see them ‘exterminated’, other residents are less sympathetic.

NHS volunteer Jackie, who has lived on the estate for decades, says she’s ‘frightened’ of the rodents, which have grown in confidence in the 18 months since the scaffolding was first put up.

“I live on the top floor,” she said. “We never had them before the scaffolding – especially at the top. The birds nest on them as well. If you leave your windows open the squirrels will venture in.

“I was chopping up strawberries last year and when I came back into the kitchen a squirrel was trying to get to them. Sometimes they hide behind towels when you hang them on the balcony.

“They have got more and more daring. It’s all a big game to them. I’ve had to throw away the grass on my balcony because they peed on it. They don’t care. One woman’s husband was chasing one round the kitchen to get it out.”

Joyce Paul, a 65-year-old who has lived on the estate for around 27 years, says the squirrels are a ‘nightmare’.

Ms Paul, originally from Sunderland, said: “People climb on the scaffolding as well – they’re supposed to be alarmed but they’re not.

“But the squirrels are the worst problem. If you leave a window open it’s a nightmare. They’ve been in a couple of flats and literally wrecked them. It’s got much worse since the scaffolding went up. They use it as a playground.

“We had to get rid of our table and chairs because of the scaffolding.

Ms White added that squirrels hadn’t been such a problem on the estate before the scaffolding was put up – and that rats also plague ground floor flats like hers.

“One squirrel fell on my lap from the scaffolding when I was sat outside the other week,” she said.

“It’s got much worse since the scaffolding went up. It’s the same with the rats.”

A City of London Corporation spokesperson said: “We are investing around £107million in a Housing Major Works Programme to bring all homes across our 12 social housing estates up to a high standard by 2026.

“This includes a £47m investment in replacement windows.

“It is imperative that the window designs meet the requirements of building regulations and high standards required by the City Corporation and our residents. Whilst the window installations at Sumner Buildings have been delayed, redecoration work has progressed. A letter detailing the latest update on the project was sent to residents.”

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