Pensioners living in a retirement complex say they are continually being trapped indoors because the lift inside keeps breaking down.

Residents living above the ground floor in Vicarage Court, off Chapel Hill, Halstead, claim they are being left stranded for weeks because the only lift in the building is regularly out of action.

The complex offers a mix of sheltered housing, retirement housing, supported living accommodation to residents aged 55 or more.

Notting Hill Genesis, which manages the properties, had previously vowed to investigate the ongoing problems with the lift after it was contacted by the Gazette about it back in June.

However, residents say the issue has still not been resolved four months on and some are now moving out the complex due to the problem.

Wendy Lane, 72, said: "The lift has been broken for at least a month now. Everyone on the first floor has been stuck in it. The fire brigade has had to come out and free people from the lift nine times this year.

"We also have a 90-year-old lady who cannot walk and has to be pushed in a wheelchair and another resident is disabled.

"He only bought his upstairs flat because we had a lift. Now he is fed up with it and is moving out. Im moving out soon and am worried how I will get my furniture and possessions downstairs without a lift."

Residents say Genesis installed a stair lift several months ago in a bid to provide another option to get in and out of the building. However, the new equipment has also proved temperamental and has made access more difficult when using the stairs.

Another resident, who is in their sixties, added: "People can't get their shopping or wheelchairs up and down the stairs because the seat is too wide.

"It's actually quite dangerous for some of us.

"The whole thing is just so frustrating and the worst bit is they don't seem to have any idea how to fix the lift.

"It just goes round in circles.

"It's got to the point where everyone is afraid to use it now because they are worried about getting trapped inside it.

"People have been stuck in there in the dark before and waited for hours to be rescued. We have the fire brigade here so much we know them all really well now."

A Notting Hill Genesis spokesman said: “We apologise for the ongoing issues with the lift at Vicarage Court and recognise that it is an inconvenience to residents. We are currently awaiting a part so the lift can be repaired.

“We have installed a stair lift to provide an alternative to residents, but do recognise the importance of the lift being repaired as quickly as possible.”