Hoarder buried by his own junk UPDATED

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A hoarder escaped serious injury after crashing through his bedroom floor and in to his lounge when a ceiling collapsed under the weight of accumulated junk.

Stephen Tatham, 53, spent Tuesday night buried under rubble after the dramatic incident in Agbrigg, Wakefield.

The scene at the house. PIC: Simon Hulme

The scene at the house. PIC: Simon Hulme

Neighbours had heard a banging noise from Mr Tatham’s end terrace house on Newland Street on Tuesday night.

But it wasn’t until yesterday morning – when a resident heard a cry for help from inside the dilapidated stone-clad house – that police were alerted.

Police contacted the fire service and paramedics and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance was sent to the scene.

Firefighters arrived just after 8am and had to clear piles of hoarded rubbish – along with rubble, furniture, joists and floorboards – to get to the stricken man.

Mr Tatham, who is an administrative worker for Wakefield Council, was taken by ambulance to Pinderfields Hospital at Wakefield just after 9.30am suffering from suspected hypothermia.

Chris Kirkby – a fire service station manager – said: “The gentleman is a hoarder. Because of the weight of the materials he had got stored in the property he has ended up falling from the first floor.

“We had to slowly remove all the rubble surrounding the casualty. He was trapped under some quite heavy timbers. We have safely removed the casualty. The main thing he was suffering from was cold, hypothermia. The joists will have become weakened and eventually they will have just given way.”

Noreen Hussain, 26, has lived opposite the house for five years. She said his wheeled bins have never been put out for collection. She added: “He is such a nice guy. He is always dressed smart with creases in his trousers and goes to work every day in a shirt and tie.”

Paul Nicholson, a senior lecturer in psychological therapies and mental health at Leeds Metropolitan University, said hoarding is a form of obsessional compulsive disorder.

He added: “There’s prevention of harm hoarding, where people think something bad is going to happen if they throw things away. Or they might think they are going to bring harm to someone else by throwing things away, such as bottles. “There is also deprivation hoarding, where people think they can’t get rid of an item because they might need it later in life.”

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