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- Heart breaking moment distraught animal sanctuary owner collapsed into mud as bailiffs arrived to evict her after 20 years
- She had cared for animals at sanctuary in County Durham for 20 years
- Cost of supporting vulnerable animals at site financially crippled her
This is the moment a distraught animal sanctuary owner collapsed in the mud after bailiffs arrived to evict her from her farm.
Paula Campbell, who has cared for thousands of abandoned pets over the past 20 years, was so overcome with grief she required hospital treatment.
Following years of court cases and appeals, bailiffs arrived to take possession of the sanctuary due to thousands of pounds owed in mortgage arrears.
Collapse: Paula Campbell (on the ground), 47, was so overcome with grief she was admitted to hospital after the repossession of the Rainbow Ark Animal Sanctuary in Willington, County Durham
Work: Ms Campbell has devoted 20 years to looking after sick and homeless animals and her sanctuary has successfully re-homed thousands of cats and dogs throughout the North-East
Long battle: Following years of court cases and appeals, bailiffs acting on behalf of Redstone Mortgages arrived to take possession of the sanctuary due to thousands of pounds owed in payment arrears
Her sanctuary has successfully re-homed thousands of cats and dogs throughout the North East of England.
But the cost of supporting the animals was crippling Miss Campbell, with the cost of feeding them rising to £1,000 a month.
Unhappy story: The cost of supporting these vulnerable animals at the site on Milkup Bank Farm was crippling Ms Campbell, with food bills alone amounting to £1,000 monthly
Friend to the animals: A file photograph of Ms Campbell with a sheep and hens at her animal sanctuary
Bailiffs acting on behalf of Redstone Mortgages arrived to take possession of the sanctuary at Milkup Bank Farm, in Willington, County Durham, on Wednesday. Miss Campbell, 47, along with members of her family and volunteers, then staged a desperate last stand. A wooden pole and a tree trunk were laid across the track while the protesters blockaded the gate with a van and Land Rover.
Miss Campbell fell to the ground as the bailiffs moved in.
Her daughter, Jayne, was given just five minutes to gather all their possessions and pet dogs and get off the land.
Jonathon Proctor, 21, who was a volunteer at the centre, said: ‘At about 12pm an army of bailiffs, police and locksmiths arrived. Paula had what we thought was a heart attack.
‘She’s losing her home, her life and all of her animals. We have done everything we can do to keep the sanctuary, but it’s made no difference. We are devastated – all of us here and especially Paula have only ever had the best interests of the animals at heart.
‘We’ve got to now find 300 homes for all these animals.’
In happier times: Another file image of 47-year-old Ms Campbell with a dog and hens at her sanctuary
RSPCA vans on site: A photograph taken today of Rainbow Ark Animal Sanctuary in County Durham
Home for vulnerable animals: Reggie the dog at the sanctuary in County Durham with a spanner toy
Aerial view: The Rainbow Ark Animal Sanctuary was located at this farm in Willington, County Durham
‘We have five officers on site who are assisting with the feeding and watering of the animals at the sanctuary.
and are giving advice to the people who are currently responsible for them to ensure their welfare is secure. Vets have also been called in on RSPCA advice to check over all of the animals.’
In 2010, Redstone Mortgages Limited was fined £630,000 by the Financial Services Authority for its poor treatment of some customers facing mortgage arrears.
The FSA identified a series of failings, including customers being hit with unfair and excessive charges.
A company spokesman said: ‘Redstone takes its obligations very seriously and will take all necessary steps to ensure the welfare of all the animals at the property.’
- If you wish to find out more about the sanctuary, or donate to it, please click here