Family forced to live in the garden

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Ten children are being forced to sleep top-to-toe in a three-bedroom static caravan because landlords will not take the large family in.

The Dumpleton family moved back to the garden of their house in Irthlingborough a month after it burnt down following an electrical fault.

Instead of moving back in to the house, the family of 12 is living in a static caravan in the Finedon Road property’s garden.

Mother Caroline, 36, says the family was left with no option because, despite going to dozens of estate agents, they were offered nowhere to rent.

The family had been staying in temporary accommodation at Billing Aquadrome – but could no longer stay there because of the cost of transporting the children to their schools.

Mrs Dumpleton said the family had been told by landlords they preferred smaller families because of the fear of wear and tear on the household.

She said: “We’ve tried everything, but in the end we had no option but to move back into our garden into a static caravan – it’s hardly ideal.

“In the day we use all three rooms and then at night the children sleep top-to-tail and me and my husband sleep on the floor.

“We have toilets which are emptied with a bucket, no showers and temporary electric power.

“It’s so frustrating and leaves me stressed and tired.”

The family were lucky to escape the fire when it ripped through their home in the early hours of March 30.

The fire, which left the home severely damaged, was thought to have been started because of an electrical fault in one of the children’s bedrooms.

The insurance company has told the family the house should be in a habitable condition in a year – but no physical work has started yet and the house remains uncovered.

The family includes Charlene, 16, Chloe, 15, Alex, 12, Ashley, 11, Sophie, nine, Shantelle, six, Harrison, five, Holly, four, Ruby, two, and Ellie Mae, 12 weeks.

Father Dan Dumpleton works full-time for BT.

Mrs Dumpleton said: “We’ve got a gazebo but because of the weather we have never been able to put it up.

“Family life is cramped, but we’re just about getting by.

“We’ve got to accept the situation now and wait for the new house to be built.”