A pensioner had her lovely back garden in Downham destroyed after a latent fatberg sat under her home.

Fatberg is the evocative name given to a congealed lump found in the sewers created by non-biodegradable goods people shouldn’t flush down the toilet but do, like wet wipes.

The fatberg became a household name after a 130 tonne, 250 metre long one was uncovered lying in the sewers under Whitechapel last year, which now even has an exhibition at the Museum of London and its own BBC documentary.

This Downham fatberg was not as big as that one, but it was still enough to burst the sewage pipe below Carol Brittle’s home on April 24 and flood her garden with human waste.

London Fire Brigade had to be called in along with Thames Water engineers to stop the flow of sewage into her garden and stop it from going into her home.

Kathy Brittle, Carol’s daughter, said: “The fire brigade did what they needed to do. If they had not been there, the damage would have been more severe. It was rising so they stopped it from going into the house.

“The waste has seeped through the vented bricks of the house. The garden stinks and there is still human waste under the living room floor boards.

“She is a pensioner with COPD [lung disease] and emphysema and has had to stay with me because of the fumes.”

A spokesman for Thames Water said: “This situation has clearly been very distressing for the residents of the property and is a prime example of the misery caused when the wrong things are put down toilets and drains and block the sewers.

“We attended within an hour of the incident being reported and immediately removed the blockage and cleaned up the affected areas of the garden.”