Home of Ulster ‘mole man’ put up for sale by Hackney council
The London home of the eccentric Ulsterman dubbed the ‘Mole Man’ — because of his obsession with burrowing tunnels under the house — is up for sale with a guide price of £500,000.
William Lyttle, who is originally from Donegal, became famous after he spent 40 years digging a maze of tunnels under his 20-room home and nearby property.
Mr Lyttle, a former Queen's University student and hi-tech weapons engineer for the Bristol Aeroplane Company, died at the age of 79 last year.
The compulsive tunneller was evicted in 2006 on safety grounds after fears the building was on the brink of collapse and that neighbouring properties and the road which he had burrowed beneath could cave in.
Hackney council rehoused Lyttle in a council flat in 2009 after the council had spent £45,000 putting him up in a hotel. They fought a lengthy legal battle against him over a High Court judgment, made in 2008.
The council has been attempting to recover the £293,000 spent on essential repairs to Lyttle's house made for public safety reasons.
Sergeant Taff Williams said Mr Lyttle was “not poor” and had been a “wealthy man”.
“From documents and bank statements I've seen, let's just say his finances were a lot better than most people's,” he said.
According to the Daily Mail, Mr Lyttle's surviving family fought unsuccessfully for the right to demolish the entire house.
Despite having structural problems, Hackney Council refused permission, as it was in a street in a conservation area.
They now want to wash their hands of the property by selling it on the open market, through a local estate agent, the newspaper reported.
According to the house value website www.zoopla.co.uk a comparable refurbished four bedroom detached home in this fashionable part of London could be worth more than £1m.