A severely disabled tenant and his family have barricaded themselves into their home in a bid to prevent a controversial eviction.
Quadriplegic Harvey Cowe, 62, and his wife Sheree, 55, have lived at the house in Brittany Road, Hove, for 25 years after Brighton & Hove Council spent �200,000 on adaptations to accommodate his condition.
Their landlords, Anna and Dean Lashmar, now need to sell the �800,000 property to cover the cost of a �1.4m inheritance tax bill, reports The Argus.
In February, they gave the couple three months to raise the cash to buy it, so two family members sold their homes to help raise �500,000 and the council offered to match the amount with a mortgage.
However, by the time the Cowes had put together a �925,000 offer for the property, the deadline had passed by a week and the landlords had already started eviction proceedings.
Now a court has granted possession and the couple report that bailiffs started drilling through the locks within minutes after the hearing.
Sheree Cowe (main picture) says Anna and Dean Lashmar have refused to negotiate further and stopped communicating. She adds: 'The bailiffs said someone would return with the police and, regardless of my husband being bed-bound, they would arrest him, handcuff him and put him in the back of a police van.'�
Speaking to The Argus in February, Dean Lashmar said he had no choice but to sell the home to cover an inheritance tax bill. 'If they don't leave very soon I will be going to prison because we owe a hell of a lot of money to my dad's tax. We have been kind enough to rent to them for a very long time and they have had it very well. Unfortunately, we are not in a position any more to be able to support them, so we have to move on.'�
The council says it is urgently trying to find alternative accommodation.
Read more: Legal advice for landlords guide.