An elderly Ilkeston couple have discovered huge rats in their back garden that they fear are a health hazard.
Pensioners Glen and Kathleen Monk of Wade Avenue said have seen the vermin scurrying around in their garden, which is in the Larklands area of the town, close to the Erewash Canal.
They said when they initially contacted Erewash Borough Council to take action they would not send anyone. However, following a call from the ‘Tiser, the council sent a pest control officer to the site on Friday. He informed them that the rats were attracted by food that people had left for birds.
Mr Monk, 69, said: “The rats are in the back garden and are a health hazard because of their urine.”
He claims his two dogs have become ill from the rat urine and they have had to pay £81 out of their pension towards vet bills and have spent more than £35 on rat poison.
The couple have rat holes in their back garden which they have put rat poison down, and have covered the holes with plastic sheets. Mr Monk, who killed the large rat by hitting it with a shovel, said he cannot touch the holes by the canal as they are on council land.
They first saw rats around five years ago but it was only in the last few weeks that they noticed the vermin had made a return.
Mr Monk said he has neighbours with young children and was concerned about the effects the rats could have on their health.
The pest control officer advised Mr Monk on what action to take. Mr Monk has requested that letters be sent out to residents telling them not to feed the birds at the canal.
Nick Thurstan, Erewash Borough Council’s head of environment and housing said: “We do not provide a pest control service, but we do offer advice to people who have a problem. As most residents are aware, DIY stores and garden centres sell all the necessary materials to treat pests. We would urge people to always follow the instructions carefully when using the products – in particular ensure that other animals, pets and children cannot get access to them.
“We have detailed information and advice on all common ‘pests’ and this can be found on our website.
“In terms of a possible problem on land near the canal we will liaise with British Waterways to see if anything can be done.”