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'I lived in a tunnel and food bank saved me'.

HARD-UP ex-hotel porter Robbie Crawley saw light at the end of his tunnel of despair thanks to a food bank.

And he believes that without its help he would be dead.

After losing his job a few months ago, Robbie, 50, was living in a 30-foot long concrete tunnel next to a sewage farm. "The cold was terrible," says Robbie, from Liverpool.

"I lit a fire to try to keep myself warm during the night but the wind blew through the tunnel and it was freezing. There were rats all over the place and I saw a fox prowling around. It was a horrible experience."

Eventually, he moved into a friend's flat but, still without a job, he has no option but to claim food from his local food bank.

SURVIVE

"I really appreciate what they do," he says. "I go there because I need food in my belly. I don't like to be in the situation I am in. It has got so bad that I have tried to kill myself three times.

"I can't survive on the PS100 per fortnight I get in Employment and Support Allowance. It's murder trying to find a job. Perhaps the Government should spend some money trying to create work for people."

Cleaner Nicola Bullen, 39, says she visits Liverpool's food bank because she cannot survive on the PS51.55 a week benefits she receives.

"I have a nine-year old daughter and the money is gone after three days," she says. "It's harder to get through the week now than it ever has been.

"I don't believe David Cameron cares about ordinary people's lives."

Anthony Murphy, 41, says: "I'm working part-time and am not entitled to working tax credit. The food bank is a godsend."

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Robbie in the tunnel where he slept for three months
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 9, 2012
Words:304
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