DISABLED pensioners Kathleen and Dennis Courtnell first moved into the Ferrier estate with their children in 1970 when it was originally built.

Forty years later all the houses on their row are boarded up, crack addicts are smoking outside the front door and the council has tried to move them out to a “tin-roofed shack” in Mottingham.

The Courtnells have watched as all their neighbours were relocated by Greenwich Council in preparation for the Kidbrooke estate to be torn down and rebuilt again in a £1bn project.

Mrs Courtnell, who suffers from emphysema and uses an oxygen machine to help her breathe, says the stress has led to psychiatric problems.

And earlier this year on the sixth anniversary of her son’s death, she came home from a psychiatrist’s appointment to find the council had offered her a rundown home in Mottingham’s Coldharbour estate.

She said: “When I came back and found they’d given us this I wanted to commit suicide.

“How can I take my 40 years here with me to a place like that?

“I showed it to an Eritrean man on the estate and he said ‘I left my country to stop living in those places’.” News Shopper: 'Tin-roofed shack' - The Coldharbour property they were offered

The couple’s situation was complicated after son Ricky, 45, became sole owner of the property 17 years ago, effectively making them his tenants. However, because of their disabilities, the council still has a duty to rehouse them.

Their son insists his parents should be given a three-bedroom house similar to one they were offered before he bought the property and says a one-bedroom flat is totally unsuitable for his parents, who sleep in separate rooms because of their disabilites.

He said: “They were meant to live here till they died because they’ve made it a really lovely place. Unfortunately I didn’t foresee we’d get a compulsory purchase order.

“Now they’ve been left here on their own and all the council offered them is a tin-roofed shack.

“It beggars belief that a place like that still exists.”

Their only other offer was a one bedroom flat in Middle Park Avenue which they were warned off by a relative.

Former dockworker Dennis Courtnell, 75, who has difficulty walking and needs a wheelchair and stairlift, has built a pond in the garden himself and has reared carp there. News Shopper: 'They took my neighbours' - The Courtnells' are the only people still living in their row of homes

His wife, known by the estate’s children as Nanny Kath, said: “Without his fish pond and his carp that he’s raised and his shed it’d kill him.”

She said: “When we moved in this was like Millionaire’s Row for us.

“We had brilliant neighbours. Every one of them we got on well with.

“This was supposed to be the last place to come down. But they took my neighbours.”

Despite the estate’s reputation, the couple, who have 10 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren, say crime has only got out of hand since the regeneration project started.

People smoke drugs outside and strangers have turned up at their front door in the middle of the night, leading them to install a security system.

Mrs Courtnell said: “We’ve had people throwing cans outside, he’s had his mobility scooter stolen.

“It’s getting that bad I don’t stop crying. I don’t sleep at all for fear of what’s going on outside.

“We’ve got to put up with all this but they don’t give a damn.

“All this and I’ve never given the council an ounce of trouble.

“Just say to me you’ll give me the neighbours back, you’re staying, and I’d feel like I’d won the lottery.” News Shopper: parts of the estate have already been demolished

Mr Courtnell said: “The police have been doing patrols so long they wave at me at night time when I’m at the bedroom window, just to make sure everything’s alright.

“I don’t know why the council is treating us like this.”

Ricky Courtnell, who now also lives in the property, said: “Everybody’s scared of the courts - they’re terrified and that’s why they’re accepting offers.

“But we’ve got a good case and we want to go to court because they’ve been real bastards.”

A spokesman for Greenwich Council said: “The council wishes to resolve this couple's housing situation as speedily as possible.

"As with any family applying for rehousing they have had a detailed assessment of their housing needs and are offered properties that reflect their individual needs.

“The couple have recently advised us that their medical circumstances have changed.

“We have asked them to supply more details and as soon as they have done so we will re-assess their situation, and make a further housing offer."

He said of the Mottingham property: “When a suitable property becomes available it is normal practice to invite the housing applicant to view the place without waiting for repairs to be carried out.

“This is to speed up the process. It should have been explained to the Courtnells that repairs would be carried out before they moved in."