A PEEBLES mum has spent Christmas terrified of being scalded alive after a housing association failed to fix a neighbour's heating system.

Catriona Hamilton first noticed something was wrong with the plumbing at the start of December.

And for the past four weeks she has experienced boiling water dripping into her Connor Street first-floor flat as well as steam filling up her attic.

Despite making calls and sending emails to Scottish Borders Housing Association, who own the ground-floor flat below, about the problems, the water tank above has continued to boil.

Catriona, who is a full-time carer for her son Aaron, told the Peeblesshire News: "We have been ready to evacuate several times in the past few weeks.

"I've had boiling water dripping through my ceiling and I'm just ready for the whole thing to come in on us.

"I have been terrified about what could happen to us - there are incidents in the past where people have been scalded alive because of similar problems.

"It began with really loud noises coming from the pipes - every time I hear the pipes make noises I'm ready to run for it.

"The plastic cold water tank is all warped with the heat of the water inside.

"I've been going round in circles with SBHA and I'm no further forward."

An inquest seven years ago into the death of a toddler in Taunton, who suffered 95 per cent burns after a cold water tank overheated and flooded the rooms below, was told that safety checks should be done to around 3.5 million homes with similar thermostats.

A health and safety inspector had also warned the government in 2002 of the dangers when a woman was also burned after a cold tank overheated and flooded her home beneath.

It is believed that a similar faulty thermostat in an immersion heater at the SBHA property below Catriona's home is causing the cold water tank to overheat.

Catriona first contacted SBHA on December 12.

And the following day received an email to say that the association's gas contractors PH Jones had been alerted and would be in touch.

A week later, with steam regularly filling up her attic, Ms Hamilton still hadn't been contacted by the contractor's and she made a further complaint.

And despite repeated requests for help no engineers arrived at Connor Street throughout Christmas and New Year.

On Saturday, January 6 Ms Hamilton finally received a call from the heating company - to say she wasn't an SBHA tenant and they wouldn't be attending.

Catriona added: "I tried to explain to PH Jones that it is my neighbours' water tank and belongs to SBHA.

"Eventually - a month after my first complaint - an SBHA plumber came out.

"He admitted the water must have been extremely hot to have warped the tank, but they haven't replaced it.

"I am still waiting to find out what is going to happen. People's lives are genuinely at risk and they don't seem to care."

Scottish Borders Housing Association ****