Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 17:19 UK

Bird feeding couple face eviction

Marilyn Brown feeding birds
Marilyn Brown denies feeding the birds is causing a problem with rats

A couple from Oxfordshire face eviction over claims their hobby of feeding birds was attracting rats.

Marilyn Brown and her partner David Brookes have been ordered to leave Lady Ann Morton Almshouses in Kidlington by 8 December.

The almshouses trustees took action over allegations of a rat infestation.

A statement said they regretted the move but would not comment further due to legal issues. The parties are set to meet in a bid to resolve the issue.

Almshouses are independent local charitable trusts that provide affordable housing for older people in need.

'No rat infestation'

The couple, both in their 60s, moved into the rented property in Church Street in November 2004.

They converted two bedsits into one cottage, investing about £15,000 of their own money into the building which needed repair.

Ms Brown said: "We have spent a lot of money renovating the place with the agreement and knowledge and blessing of the trustees who are now going to get all that benefit for nothing and put us out on the streets."

"We thought we had a home for life here
Marilyn Brown

She added that they have had several surveys which proved there was no signs of an infestation.

"We thought we had a home for life here. We wouldn't have done the work if we realised we could have been thrown out for feeding the birds", Ms Brown said.

Earlier this month, a judge at Oxford County Court granted a possession order for the property, but ordered both parties to undergo mediation.

The couple were told to leave the property by 8 December but a further order would need to be obtained before they could be evicted.

In a statement, the trustees said: "We deeply regret having to take the action - but would not want to comment further because there are complex legal issues involved and the parties are seeking to engage in a mediation process to resolve those outstanding issues."



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