Resident counts cost of growing rat plague

Angry residents whose homes and gardens are being plagued by rats are demanding action is taken to clear up a patch of wasteland.

Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 2:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 5:05 pm
Judy Bayer on the land which she says is overrun with rats

Judy Bayer, from Norley Hall, says she has recently seen almost a dozen rodents in and around her house on Avon Road and her neighbour found one in a bin.

The arrival of the rats has proved a financial headache for Ms Bayer as well, as they have caused almost £1,000 worth of damage by gnawing through the wooden sheds where she keeps ferrets.

The residents say the rubbish-strewn square of unkempt land next to their properties is a breeding ground for the rats, and they are demanding the authorities take action to clear it up.

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A rat in the ferret cage

However, Ms Bayer and her neighbour are also in dispute with Wigan Council as they claim they have contacted the town hall on numerous occasions and nothing has been done, an allegation firmly rejected by the local authority.

Ms Bayer said: “It has been going on for weeks and it’s getting worse. It’s got so bad I’ve had to bring my ferrets into the house.

“Recently I’ve seen a pregnant female and a large one with youngsters, so they’re obviously still breeding profusely.

“I’ve had £1,000 of sheds ruined by the rats, I’ve had to repair them so many times and I’ve even had to use perspex.

A rat in the ferret cage

“I’m sick of chasing them round the garden. If a rat can get in, then one of my ferrets can get out.

“There’s a big square of wasteland right at the side of my house and it’s just an absolute tip, there’s all sorts of rubbish on it. I think that’s where they are coming from.

“The council has been promising for weeks to clean up the waste, but no-one’s been yet.”

Ms Bayer says she is also concerned as she suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and fears exposure to rat urine or droppings could make the condition worse.

However, Wigan Council strongly refuted Ms Bayer’s claims that its employees were aware of the rodent problems and had decided not to act.

The town hall said its last enquiry from Ms Bayer was in 2013 and it had no recent recorded complaints about rats in the Avon Road area.

However, the council said it would be happy to look into the problem if Ms Bayer got in touch.