A DISTRAUGHT grandmother has told of her despair after she was left without a toilet for almost THREE weeks.

Catherine Owen was unable to use the loo at her home in Port Glasgow's Berwick Road after the waste pipe became frozen.

As a temporary measure, workmen from landlord River Clyde Homes deliberately broke the pipe, suggesting she could then flush any waste into her own garden.

Refusing to take that drastic measure, the 55-year-old was then forced to walk to use the toilet at her daughter's home nearby.

Catherine, pictured, said the nightmare began during the worst of the cold spell two days before Christmas.

River Clyde Homes had someone at her home within an hour. But they were unable to clear the blockage and broke the pipe, causing the trapped water and waste to gush out into her back garden.

The problem has now been fixed - but only after the Tele got involved.

Catherine started sobbing as she recalled the stress of the last few weeks.

She said: "It ruined my Christmas. I had visitors coming for the day and they had to go to Angus Road if they needed the toilet.

"I always have family on New Year's Day as well, my sisters and their families, but I had nothing this year." Workmen did return on 29 December when she was out visiting a relative at hospital, and left a card, but Catherine said the outside repair could have been done then.

She claims she made numerous calls to the River Clyde Homes helpline, but was put on hold for 10 minutes before being cut off.

She also had run-ins with staff in the Greenock office, who told her they didn't know when the toilet would get fixed.

Catherine said: "It's terrible in this day and age.

"River Clyde Homes just kept trying to fob me off, but the minute the Telegraph got involved someone was out to fix the problem within an hour." A spokesman for River Clyde Homes yesterday said: "River Clyde Homes tenants have experienced hundreds of burst pipes over the last two weeks and, despite bringing extra contractors on board, we have been overwhelmed by the numbers involved.

"In cases like Mrs Owen's, our repairs team had to take temporary action to allow the continued use of toilet facilities by breaking the pipe outside the house.

"We did attempt to make a follow-up visit but Mrs Owen was out.

"We have attended her home today to make good the repair.

"River Clyde Homes appreciates the patience of its tenants during what has been an extraordinary period of cold weather."