Priceless family mementoes have been destroyed in a second botched house clearance by Fife Council contractors.
Single mum-of-two Shelly Paterson is distraught after losing sentimental items from her children’s births, as well as a ribbon from her late father’s coffin.
Presents, furnishings, clothes and a Christmas tree were also removed from her Kirkcaldy home and later destroyed.
The items were removed by officials from housing management firm Orbis Protect Ltd, which operates Fife Council’s clean and clear procedure of properties, who had entered the property by mistake.
Botched clearance days before Christmas
It is the second report of the firm wrongly clearing a council property and destroying many irreplaceable belongings.
In February The Courier revealed a 17-year-old woman was left with nothing but the clothes she went to work in after Orbis Protect staff cleared the wrong house.
A week before Christmas, Shelly was given just three days to organise removal of all belongings from her council property in Brodick Road, Kirkcaldy, after a new home became available.
Memory boxes destroyed
Despite being granted extra time to move out and having already removed many bulkier items of furniture, Shelly returned to the property on December 21 to find all remaining items had been stripped from the house.
Shelly said: “I couldn’t believe it.
“Every last thing had been removed, there was nothing at all left.”
She added: “Everything from children’s clothes, furniture, even the Christmas tree, decorations and children’s presents had gone.
“Most distressing of all was the loss of my children’s baby memory boxes, full of items from when they were born.
“The ribbon that had adorned my father’s coffin at his funeral had also been taken.”
Children’s presents removed
Shelly added: “The thought that these things will never be able to be replaced is sickening.
“Even though I alerted the council that my belongings had been removed, I was told that everything had already been disposed of.
“I was left just four days before Christmas with no presents to give my two children.
“It was heartbreaking.
“I’m yet to receive an explanation as to how this was allowed to happen, or an offer to replace the many items that were taken and destroyed.”
Miss Paterson said she is now considering legal action as the council has yet to offer her compensation.
John Mills, head of Fife Council’s housing service, apologised unreservedly for the upset caused to Miss Paterson.
He said: “We are really sorry that this has happened, and we are carrying out an urgent investigation into how we work with our contractor and our processes.
“Our contractor has taken full responsibility for this mistake and is discussing compensation with the tenant directly.
“However we understand that no amount of compensation can make up for personal items that have been lost.
“We are also apologising personally to Ms Paterson and we’ll discuss if there is any other support she needs.
“Once again, we are sorry for any inconvenience and upset caused.”