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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Cumbria plagued by rats after deluges

Cumbria is facing an explosion in the rat population because of the wet summer.

Rat photo
A rat

The rain has led to a surge in the vermin after downpours washed them out of overflowing sewers and riverside lairs.

Nationally, there has been a 25 per cent reported increase in the creatures and pest control companies in north and west Cumbria say they are busier than they have ever been.

Mike Telford of Border Pest Control in Longtown, has been in the business for more than 25 years. He said: “This is the busiest I have seen since I started my own business five years ago. The rat population is definitely growing. I’m getting an increase in rat and mice calls. Water has washed them out of ditches.”

Regulations coming in from Europe also made it more difficult to control vermin, he said.

“You have to have regular searches for rodent bodies [after bait has been put down] and a lot of people don’t want to pay extra for that. We used to come out every three to four weeks, but now we are supposed to make the inspections every two or three days.”

In a bid to cut cost, many people are turning to DIY bait sold over the counter but Mr Telford said a lot of it didn’t work as well.

“If I had my way I would stop them selling it,” he said. “People scatter it about willy-nilly and a dog or a child could pick it up.”

Cumbria Pest Services, based in Little Broughton near Cockermouth, covers the whole of Cumbria. It said numbers were up and it was receiving more calls about rats.

One of the worst areas is the bank on Brow Top in Workington.

Karen Law, of Cumbria Pest Services, said: “We have had so many complaints about the bank going down to the car park on the Cloffocks near the Bingo Hall. This is the worst place in Workington.”

She added: “Years ago North West Water [now part of United Utilities] used to pay for the sewers to be baited but there is no money for that anymore.

“That’s the source of a lot of the problems.”

Councils across north and west Cumbria deal with hundreds of calls for help per year. Last year, Carlisle city council logged 765 calls.

Allerdale council only has one pest controller but Copeland no longer offers pest control services or sub-contracted pest control and simply offers advice.

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