January 24, 2009

17 truckloads of junk taken from home

A 61-year-old British man must pay for the government clean-up of his home, in which 17 truckloads of hoarded rubbish was hauled away, a court says.

It took that many skips, or dumpsters, to hold all the trash removed from the Leeds, England, home of Anthony Cockerham, The Daily Telegraph reported. Leeds County Court Friday ordered him to pay up to $55,000 for the work and legal fees from a long court battle to enter the home, the newspaper said.

Cockerham had refused to allow officials to enter the residence, but when a warrant was finally obtained, city workers said they found the rooms stuffed from floor to ceiling with possessions, bin bags full of rubbish and old newspapers.

The state of the home was discovered after a neighbor complained about a rat infestation in 2005, the Telegraph said.

You may say an Englishman's home is his castle but when public health is at stake we have to take measures to protect people, said Steve Smith, the Leeds City Council's executive board member for environmental services.