Plaistow father alarmed by bites after son’s school trip

Jason Johnson and Nicola Gibson with their son Alfie who had bites after returning from Fairplay Hou

Jason Johnson and Nicola Gibson with their son Alfie who had bites after returning from Fairplay House - Credit: Melissa Page

A father has raised concerns about an outdoor education centre after his son returned from a school trip covered in bites.

Alfie's neck showing some of the bites

Alfie's neck showing some of the bites - Credit: Archant

Jason Johnson’s son Alfie went to Newham Council-owned Fairplay House in Witham, Essex, along with classmates from Tollgate Primary School this month.

When the 10-year-old returned after the three-day excursion, his mother Nicola, 40, noticed her son’s face was covered in small, red bites.

“He was withdrawn for a good few days and was teased at school because he was covered,” said Jason.

After a visit to the family doctor the parents discovered the bites were caused by bed bugs.

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Jason, 42, added: “My son doesn’t like to complain, but you can’t have children coming to your premises and not take care of what you’re meant to be taking care of.”

After hearing about Alfie’s bites, his school, in Barclay Road, Plaistow, repaid his parents the £45 cost of the trip and launched an investigation.

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Headteacher Tom Canning said: “When I found out I was so mortified.

“We have used the centre for 17 years without incident and this is the only time this has happened.”

A council spokeswoman said: “We are sorry that any child has been bitten by bed bugs during their stay. This is the first incident of bed bugs that Fairplay House has experienced in 53 years of operation.

“When we became aware of the issue we took immediate action and brought in a pest control company who treated the rooms at the centre with chemical sprays. Additionally, we are also replacing all the mattresses at the centre.”

She added that all schools have been written to and that after a risk assessment, the centre would remain open as only four of the 16 rooms were affected.

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