A campaigner dedicated to helping the homeless in High Wycombe was thrilled when 12 rough sleepers were offered a place to stay over Christmas by the council – but was “disgusted” when she saw the state of the B&B they have been housed in.

Natalie McCarthy, who runs Wonky Wand Homeless Support, a group of around 100 volunteers who go out on the streets and hand out food and blankets to rough sleepers, told the Bucks Free Press how she was delighted that 12 homeless people were given a place to stay temporarily by Wycombe District Council (WDC).

However, when Natalie saw the state of the B&B, on West Wycombe Road, she was appalled – and says it is not fit for anyone to live in.

She said: “We have been working with Wycombe Homeless Connection to get these people into the B&B and we were really happy – but when I saw it, it was horrible. It should be condemned.

“The building is derelict. No one should be living there - it is absolutely appalling. There was a shower but it didn’t work, there was no toilet seat. There were no cutlery or plates or bowls and no hoover.

“The people who have just moved in there have absolutely nothing – they have been living on the streets, how can they live there without these basics?”

Natalie put out a plea for help and said the community were “fantastic” – donating furniture and food to help the rough sleepers settle in.

She added: “They have a roof over their heads, which we are grateful for. But the system has failed them.”

In response to the criticism, Sue Robinson, a spokesman for WDC, said: “We are using this B&B accommodation as a way to help people sleeping rough during December.

“We are really pleased that so far, because we’ve done this, twelve people now have a place to sleep which isn’t out on the street.”

“This is way over and above what the council is required to do to provide emergency accommodation for people sleeping rough in the event of cold weather.

“Our private sector housing and housing options team checked the accommodation before we started using it. So far, none of the people living there have raised any direct complaints or told us about any problems at the accommodation.

“We will be working with partners to check the accommodation on a regular basis. We’re also making sure that the people living there know that they can raise problems directly with the service provider in the first instance, and if they are not resolved to contact us directly.”