ELDERLY neighbours say they have been trapped in their homes since their lift broke six weeks ago.

The residents of The Orchard in Moulsecoomb, Brighton, said the situation was “horrific” and that many on the first and second floors have not been outside for more than a month.

Patrick Hetherington has lived in Brighton for 30 years and used to go out twice a week with his son.

But the retired builder has not left his flat since the lift stopped working and now spends his days and evenings watching the TV

He said: “It is horrible and terrible and lonely.

“I am feeling very down as I’m locked up in my house – it’s feels like I’m trapped.

“This lift is always breaking down but never this long, I’m sat here watching TV but I would much rather go out.”

Residents pay up to £195 a week to live in the building.

Carers and helpers say they have been told they are not allowed to carry people in their wheelchairs on the stairs as it goes against the block’s health and safety rules.

Mobility scooters which are normally kept inside residents’ rooms are now being left outside, making them vulnerable to weather and thieves.

Paddy Cacy says he is “one of the lucky ones” as he does not need the lift to leave the building.

The 80-year-old, who sometimes walks up the stairs to visit those trapped inside, including Patrick, said: “They are pleased to have a visitor and they are very upset about this. I would say there’s about ten cases of people who are stuck inside.

“The problem is that they will put up with quite a bit and do not want to cause trouble by complaining.”

Rachel Bancroft, head of compliance at Hyde Group housing association which runs the flats, said: “We understand how difficult this situation is for our residents at The Orchards and apologise that it has taken longer than we would have liked to fix the lift.

“As this is an older lift, we have had difficulty in sourcing some of the parts we need to repair it which is why we have been trying to fix it in a number of different ways.

“Once again we apologise for the inconvenience this has caused to our residents.”