Edmund Trebus, a Polish war veteran born near the Polish city of Gdansk became famous for his battle with Haringay Council to preserve his rat-infested, rubbish filled Victorian home in North London through his appearance on the BBC television series "A Life of Grime" and is probably the one person who could lay claim to bringing the plight of hoarders to the public's attention in the UK.
In his eighties, living alone in a run-down house in Crouch End in north London, he was constantly in trouble with the environmental health department of the London Borough of Haringey, because of complaints about the rubbish surrounding his home. He lived in a tiny area on the ground floor in his house, surrounded by piles of rubbish, because he never threw anything away. In the BBC documentary series A Life Of Grime, Trebus was repeatedly shown arguing with council workers, often telling them to "stick it up your chuffer", who had been instructed to clear his house of the 515 cubic yards of rubbish it contained.
1997, when he seemed to have gone missing. Neighbours alerted police to his disappearance and officers forced their way into his house. They found Edmund trapped under an avalanche of debris which had collapsed on top of him after he had inadvertently triggered one of the traps he had primed around his house.
After his rescue, Trebus had to go to hospital to receive treatment for gangrene. When he emerged, he found that that Haringey Council had branded his house, and a rat-infested tunnel system which extended 300 feet into his garden, unfit for human habitation.
He was eventually re-housed at the Trentfield Nursing Home in Southfield, Haringey, where he died at the age of 83. Following his death, the BBC broadcast an hour-long tribute Mr Trebus: A Life of Grime.