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Pied Piper sought to deal with rats

PUBLISHED: 18:18 19 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:28 05 July 2010

OVERRUN: Mary Parry, who is plagued by rats, by one of the rat holes in her garden.

OVERRUN: Mary Parry, who is plagued by rats, by one of the rat holes in her garden.

A TINY village is calling for a modern-day Pied Piper after the district council decided to stop dealing with rats.

There is already a rat problem in Redisham, near Beccles, and residents fear it will get worse.

A TINY village is calling for a modern-day Pied Piper after the district council decided to stop dealing with rats.

There is already a rat problem in Redisham, near Beccles, and residents fear it will get worse. Some homes have been having weekly visits from the council ratcatcher, and MP Bob Blizzard has urged Waveney District Council to think again.

He said he had a number of letters from residents worried about having to pay a private contractor.

“They fear this will cost £60 a visit and deter people from calling in the service, including those on benefits who will only be offered a £20 subsidy. The letters refer to a 'proliferation' of rats in this rural setting, and 'a serious problem with rats at the moment',” he said.

He added: “I believe that Redisham may only be part of a much bigger problem. Now if someone can't or won't pay a fee, the rest of the community or neighbourhood will suffer. This could result in a serious public health problem. I call on the council to think again.”

Mary Parry, 53, a parish councillor who lives in the village, said rats living in the hedgerows were running around her garden and those of her neighbours.

“The rat man has been coming every week or every fortnight since the spring because of the rat problem. They are really bold and you cannot leave any doors open because they would run in.

“We are not going to pay £60 a visit. We will have to buy rat poison, but you worry about whether people are going to use it safely. I am sure the rats will get worse.”

The council decided last month to save £30,000 by ending the free service at the end of next month.

Ken Sale, Waveney's portfolio holder for the built environment, said: “The council has no obligation to provide a pest control service and the MP is merely whipping up unease.

“Most other local authorities in Suffolk either charge for the service or do not provide it at all and these districts are certainly not overrun as the MP implies.

“The council retains an obligation to control risks to health that may arise from rats. This service is not affected by the decision to withdraw the free pest control service.”

Nationally, rat numbers were reported to have risen last year, with flooding in some areas forcing more above ground.

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