Householders in Stevenage are among the most likely to lose their homes in the region, a report out this week claims.

The study by homeless charity Shelter said the town has the third highest rate of repossession in the East of England, behind only Luton and Peterborough.

The research, which used information from mortgage lenders and private and social landlords, reveals 455 possession claims were made in the town in the year to October.

It also shows a strong correlation between high unemployment and eviction rates.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter described the risk of eviction as a blight on communities.

He added: “As Christmas approaches this research paints a frightening picture of thousands of families living every day with the fear of losing their home.

“A third of people are already struggling with their housing costs of falling behind on payments. In these unforgiving conditions it only takes one thing – illness, job loss or relationship breakdown – to lead to things spiralling out of control. It’s vital that anyone struggling with housing costs seeks help immediately to give them the best chance of keeping their home.”