A GROUP of housing association tenants in Southampton say they are going through "hell" following an invasion of bugs known as silverfish.

The insects infested the flats at Mansfield Park Street several weeks ago and are making people's lives a misery by crawling into beds, cupboards and even toasters.

Tenants have accused VIVID Housing Association of not doing to enough to tackle the problem, which they say is affecting their mental health.

But the Portsmouth-based organisation says it is doing "all it can" to resolve the issue.

Silverfish get their name from their silvery, metallic appearance and fish-like movements. They are usually found in moist, humid areas such as bathrooms.

One tenant, who asked not to be named, said the flats were damp and mouldy.

"We are living in hell. We have holes in the roof, the walls are falling apart and there's a massive infestation of silverfish," she said.

"They're in our beds, kitchen cupboards and wardrobes, plus our baths and sinks.

"I pulled the sofa out the other day and there must have been more than 50 of them on the floor. No-one wants to live in a building that's infested."

Julian Chun is director of property and strategic services at VIVID.

He said: "We understand the issues occurring at Mansfield Park Street are a cause for concern for our customers living at the affected flats and we’d like to offer our reassurance that we’re doing all we can to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

"We’re in regular contact with these customers and are currently undergoing a thorough investigation to identify the cause of the issues to ensure we take the best possible action.

“The health, safety and wellbeing of our customers is our number one priority and we’ll continue to keep them informed and updated as our investigations continue.”

Silverfish are small, nocturnal insects that do not transmit disease but are capable of triggering allergies in some people.

They can damage carpets, curtains and wallpaper and like to make their home in packets of food that have been left open.

Pest control experts advise people to use a dehumidifier to reduce the air's moisture content, which is essential to the insects' survival