A TAUNTON woman has been sleeping in her car after being evicted from her council home for non-payment of rent.

Donna Smith, 47, has been spending nights trying to sleep in the driver's seat of her Vauxhall Astra after being kicked out of the flat in Lyngford Crescent.

Her only company has been her ten-year-old dog, Pieces.

A court ordered her out of the premises last Wednesday (June 15) following an application by Somerset West and Taunton Council.

READ MORE: County removes governors at Heathfield Community School

READ MORE: Mum and two children threatened in park

"I'd been in the flat for 16 years and had had a few issues that I'm sorting out now," said Ms Smith, who says she was diagnosed with osteoporosis six months ago.

"I admit I got into arrears and owed quite a lot - about £3,700. My rent was £65 a week.

"But I had evidence about how I could sort it out and told them I could pay £2,000 a relative was giving to me.

"They said they'd have that, but I'd still have to leave."

Ms Smith, who told the County Gazette she has recently started an administrative job, added: "Me not paying has been going on for a while.

"I've had problems and I've been getting help. I'm starting to sort my life out now.

"I think I made a decent payment plan, but they didn't want to know.

"When the bailiffs came, I asked for a couple of hours to clear my flat, but they gave me 15 minutes and said, 'Make sure you've got everything important'.

"I couldn't think straight and all I got was the clothes I was in and some bedding to sleep in my car.

"It's difficult getting any sleep sitting in the seat."

She says she is unable to return to the flat as the locks have now been changed.

A spokesperson for Somerset West and Taunton Council said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases, but can confirm that an eviction did take place in accordance with the council’s approved procedure.

"Eviction is always a last resort for the council and always follows comprehensive efforts from the housing service to work with tenants to try and address issues.”