A SOLDIER spent seven heartbreaking weeks living in his car during the coronavirus outbreak.

Anthony Emery was deployed to Iraq in 2004 and fought as part of the Royal Anglian Regiment.

But he was left fighting his own battle after losing his job as a result of the pandemic.

And he believes he was let down in his hour of need.

The former soldier, who was honourably discharged from the Army in 2005, has been living in his car since early April and has spent his days driving around Basildon in a bid to keep on the move.

He says he had contacted Basildon Council a number of times seeking help over the last two months but the council appeared to be “dragging its heels”.

But after the Echo contacted the council yesterday to ask why he had been left to struggle alone,, Mr Emery has now secured a home and hopes to move in today.

He said: “I went to Iraq in 2004 and didn’t last very long and was sent home on honourable discharge in 2005.

“An incident happened in Iraq and I couldn’t handle it.”

Most recently, Mr Emery had been working in Southend but says he was put on unpaid leave for three months from March 19.

He was then laid off, he believes, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The 38-year-old has been living in a car since April 6 .

His family have been leaving food parcels out for him but he could not stay with them as they are classed as vulnerable.

Speaking yesterday. the dadof-one added: “I am not coping very well at all and suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety and, with all this, it’s taken a dive.

“I am just driving and moving around Basildon in the car.

“There’s been a few incidents with kids and one with a drug dealer who didn’t like what I was doing.

“I feel massively let down by my country. I have served and done my bit but I wasn’t getting any help at all.”

Basildon Council said it has worked hard to house all people known to be sleeping rough in the borough during the outbreak, including Mr Emery.

In total 15 offers have been made to people who are homeless.

The spokesman added assessments are carried out as quickly as possible.