Vulnerable residents living in High Wycombe supported accommodation say the building is “overrun” with rats, with one former homeless person saying it was cleaner to live on the streets.

Complaints have been made about “rats in the walls” at the Old Tea Warehouse, off Amersham Hill, which offers supported accommodation for those who have been affected by homelessness.

Speaking to the Bucks Free Press, fed-up resident John Cronin slammed the facility for a string of problems he has noticed since he moved in six months ago.

He said the building is “overrun” with rats, there are needles and drug paraphernalia both inside and outside and highlighted a concerning data protection issue involving a member of staff and a resident.

The 39-year-old said: “There are rats everywhere, you can hear them inside the walls at night-time. There are needles and drug paraphernalia inside and out. My mate came to pick me up and he couldn’t find me – I told him just to look out for the zombies outside and he’d find it.

“I shouldn’t be in here, I’m stuck in a rut and they’re not helping me to get out, they want me to stay here for two years but our lives are being put at risk.

“I lived in High Wycombe for two years and I never saw one rat when I was homeless, but then they put me in here. The place is overrun. I had Environmental Health out here this week.”

Mr Cronin also revealed he was told by a member of staff that another resident had Hepatitis C, adding: “They’re not supposed to tell you things like that.”

The Old Tea Warehouse supported accommodation programme is run by the Riverside Group and is aimed at single homeless people aged between 18 and 60.

A spokesman for Riverside said in response to Mr Cronin’s criticisms: “Our support service based at the Old Tea Warehouse provides accommodation and support to people affected by homelessness.

“As a leading provider of homelessness services we support people to get off the streets and provide a wide range of support to help them turn their lives around and move on to independence.

“Many of the people we work with have complex needs – including drug and alcohol issues. The safety and wellbeing of our residents is our number one priority.

“We have robust processes in place to keep our residents safe and will always work closely with relevant agencies regarding any suspected or reported illegal activity.

“We are aware of a historic incident whereby a member of staff disclosed a resident’s medical condition to another resident – this was a single incident which was dealt with internally at the time and that member of staff received additional training around data protection.

“We are also aware of reports of rodents at the site and we’re doing everything possible to address this issue as quickly as possible.”

Nick Naylor, Buckinghamshire Council's cabinet member for housing, homelessness and regulatory service, added: "Our Environmental Health team will fully investigate premises where complaints of this nature are made. We will work with Riverside to address the concerns raised."