A FAMILY of hoarders who were evicted from their home of 60 years when they refused to throw away any of their belongings, now face the prospect that losing their home was for nothing.

Three brothers from Lostock Gralam - Brian, Paul and Mark Appleton – were evicted last year from the family home they had lived in all their lives, following a longstanding battle with Weaver Vale Housing Trust (WVHT).

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The housing association had grave concerns that the family’s hoarding had become a serious fire hazard and safety risk for the Appletons, as well as their neighbours – something the brothers and their elderly mother May, who died in 2016, disputed. The family dug their heels in and refused to move their belongings, which resulted in their eviction in April last year.

Northwich Guardian:

Brian and his brothers now have their home surrounded by bags of their belongings

They were forced to move their belongings, consisting of clothes, magazines and newspapers, action figures, dolls and various other collectibles, into storage – something Brian and his brothers had refused to contemplate when negotiating with WVHT.

But having spent all their savings on buying a house in Lostock Gralam, the brothers stopped making their monthly rent payments of more than £200 to the storage company UStore – leaving the manager of UStore thousands of pounds out of pocket and threatening to take it all to the tip.

Brian said: “About two weeks ago they got in touch with us and said if we don’t start to pay they would take it the tip. I said nothing is going to the tip.

“They’re now saying we have until tomorrow (Friday) to collect it or it’s going to the tip, but where are we supposed to put it?”

Charles Perrin, manager of UStore at the New Cheshire Business Park in Wincham Lane, says he first allowed the brothers to store their belongings there as a favour, but says regretfully he will not be helping anyone again.

“We did them a favour and now we feel like they’ve done the dirty on us,” Charles said.

“They ran out of room in the two containers so a lot of their goods have been stored outside through the winter. We started to notice mouse droppings and from our point of view, they missed 13 to 15 rent payments, and it’s now attracting vermin, so we need to get rid of it.

Northwich Guardian:

Brian Appleton among the bags returned to them by UStore

“We’ve delivered around four box van-loads of the bags to their premises. But there’s only a limited amount of space. They wanted us to put it on the pavement but we can’t do that as we’d be prosecuted for fly-tipping and we just ran out of space on their property. So there’s still a lot of bags at our site, which they have until Friday to pick up.

“We even delivered a flatpack garage to them, so they had somewhere to store it all. We’d sourced it from somewhere else and it didn’t have a roof, but we gave it to them and advised that they could put boards and tarpaulin over the top as a temporary fix, but when we came to deliver the stuff, the garage wasn’t put up.

“I thought I was doing them a favour. It’s one of those things where you try to help someone out but they won’t help themselves. So I just take it as a lesson learned that I won’t do it for anybody else, which is a shame, but once bitten, twice shy.

“I feel sorry for them, but it’s cost me thousands of pounds. To them it’s everybody else’s fault but they’re not facing reality.”

The Appleton brothers are now left with scores of bags piled around their home and more remain at the storage site in Wincham, waiting to be collected or taken to the tip tomorrow.

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But somewhere among the bags lies three life insurance policies belonging to their late mum. If the brothers could find them, they could cash them for several thousand pounds and have more than enough to pay off their debt with UStore.

“My mum’s life insurance policies and a gold watch my grandfather was given from ICI for long service is among the bags, and we just can’t find them,” Brian said.

“If we could find the insurance policies then that would solve everything. But as it stands, they’re among the stuff that are going to be taken to the tip.

“We’re not sleeping and we’re not eating. It’s horrible. All that money that’s in there and where’s it going?

“Weaver Vale just took everything and dumped it in storage. We thought they’d label everything up and organise it, but everything’s been mixed up in bags and we can’t find anything.”