A LETTING agent who turned a blind eye allowing eight people to be crammed into a small two-bedroom flat in West Kilbride has been convicted at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court.

Cameron Wallace, of Boulevard Letting Agents in Saltcoats, was guilty of facilitating the occupation of an un-registered house in multiple occupation.

It was uncovered by North Ayrshire Council’s Corporate Fraud Team after they received a string of complaints from neighbours of the Well Street property in the village.

During the investigation the fraud team uncovered the horrendous conditions the men were being forced to live in.

As well as being too small for the numbers living there, the flat was freezing and the fireplace was just a pile of rubble. The windows were poorly fitted and the occupants had stuffed plastic bags into the gaps around the windows. There were damp issues and the property failed Tolerable and Repairing Standards - the basic standards expected and enshrined in legislation to protect tenants.

When investigators gained access to the property they found three men living there. But further evidence showed that on occasions up to eight had been living there at the one time.

Mr Wallace failed to take appropriate action and was charged with breaching the Housing (Scotland) Ac t 2006 for facilitating the occupation of an unregistered house in multiple occupation in the two-bedroom property.

A council spokesman said: “We are delighted we have achieved a successful conviction.

“This will send a message that North Ayrshire Council will not accept this type of behaviour and will prosecute if necessary, to protect those in our community who are being exploited in this way.

“All tenant s - whether those in social housing or private tenants – deserve to live in good, comfortable and welcoming homes.

“This wa s most certainly not the case on this occasion.”

Mr Wallace was fined £750 at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court.