SHE has escaped years of harassment – but getting away left this Hampshire mum more than £50,000 in debt.

Sandra Houston says bringing an end to her nightmare was worth every penny because she can now sleep at night and no longer has to board up her letter box from the inside.

But the 47-year-old is still furious council bosses did not do more to help.

Eventually she had had enough and handed the keys of her home to her mortgage company.

“We had our windows smashed three times while we lived there,” she said.

“It was frightening, especially when you’ve got a little boy, but the council weren’t there when we needed them.”

Problems began when Ms Houston complained about noise from other residents in Beauworth Avenue in Harefield, Southampton.

The council issued a noise abatement notice but Mrs Houston then suffered damage to her car and the house she shared with her partner and her son Jack, then eight.

“The noise was unbearable, I was at my wits’ end,” she said.

“We would nail a piece of wood across the letter box at night because we were so concerned they were going to post something.”

Ms Houston, a computer programmer, bought the two-bedroom house for £142,000 in 2007 but after giving the keys back it was sold at a loss, leaving her £51,000 in debt.

She said the troubles went on for two years and she made 22 calls to the council in 14 months.

The police were also called but were unable to prove who had caused the damage.

Instead of paying £773 each month for the mortgage, the family are paying £875 in rent for a three-bedroom house in Shirley.

Ms Houston said: “It’s the security of having my own home that’s gone and now for me it’s a constant anxiety about how I’m going to pay my debt.”

Southampton City Council carried out its complaint procedure and the local government ombudsman also investigated.

But they did not uphold Ms Houston’s complaint about the service and her claim for compensation.

A council spokesman said: Whenever any resident alleges that their neighbours or people living near to them are making their lives difficult through loud noise or any other kind of abuse, we absolutely take those allegations seriously.

“In this instance the council responded to the complainant and subsequently served a noise abatement notice on the individuals in the house concerned.

“The council received and responded to phone calls and letters from the complainant on various occasions.

“Any allegations of vandalism or criminal behaviour is dealt with by the police, who we understand did investigate in this instance.”