PEOPLE living near a university say they are having to resort to sleeping in their living rooms – with one man even converting his bath into a bed – because of their noisy neighbours.

Late-night noise has been a long running problem in parts of Durham, leading one resident in Bakehouse Lane to start logging every time she was woken up by students last term.

She logged 28 instances of late-night disruption, between January and March, after being prompted to at a Police and Community Together meeting because of an increase in nuisance this year.

The woman, who has lived in Durham for 20 years, said she regularly encountering shouting during the early hours of the morning.

She said: “If it continues I don’t think I can live here. I’m really dreading the students coming back.

“It makes me feel sick to think about when it’s going to start up. I’ll be in bed and a gang of them come past and I just feel like crying. It’s like torture, every night.”

The woman is a member of the St Nicholas Community Forum, which has sent the log to Durham University, Durham Police and Durham County Council.

Janet George, forum secretary, said: “We feel powerless. To me it seems like the university and and council have got together.

"I think they’re just waiting for us all to die. It’s brick walls all the way really. We get platitudes, but it doesn’t change.”

The university’s pro-vice chancellor, Owen Adams, said: “I was truly sorry to hear of the situation detailed by the St Nicholas Community Forum. No-one should have their life disrupted in this manner.

“We expect our students to take responsibility for their conduct as local citizens and encourage their peers to do the same.”

“I have written to the forum to thank them for detailing these incidents, and extend my sympathies to the residents affected.”

City resident Esther Ashby says she has not had five consecutive weekday nights of uninterrupted sleep during term time for several years and has been sleeping in her living room on Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays for the last year.

Durham University Residents’ Forum member Mike Costello, who lives in the viaduct, said: “I know one man has had his bath upholstered so he can sleep in it. That’s extreme but most residents in those areas have moved to the back of their houses to get away from the flow but it doesn’t always work.”

He added: “When there were fewer student houses there was something we could do about it because we could knock on doors and it was manageable.

“Now it’s just not possible. Nine out of ten times the noise is transitory so there’s no point in getting out of bed and there’s no point in reporting it and filling out the forms because no-one does anything about it.”

A spokesman from the city’s neighbourhood police team said they were working hard to address the issue, working with the university and carrying out extra patrols on busy student nights.

He said: “We are aware of ongoing noise disruption in and around Durham City and are working hard to address it. We are working closely with the university to address this issue and are carrying out extra patrols on busy student nights, hosting fresher’s talks as well as issuing letters and emails through the colleges.”

The council’s Joanne Waller, head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “We know excess noise can have a real impact on residents and we work closely with the university as well as the police to resolve any issues reported to us.”

“We would encourage anyone who has a noise complaint to contact us via our website so we can investigate the matter further.”

Mr Adams added: “The university has been part of this community for almost 200 years, and we are proud of the positive contribution we make to the city.

“We appreciate that, as with any university city, there may on occasions be tensions between different communities.

“We take these issues, as they relate to the university and its students, very seriously.”