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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Cumbrian woman's home hit by second plague of rats

A second plague of rats in less than a year is threatening to force a Maryport woman from her home.

Helen Stuart photo
Helen Stuart

Helen Stuart, 52, of Elizabeth Terrace, Netherton, said she had become ill with the stress.

She had reached the stage where she was going to have to leave because of the fear of rats in her home.

Her nightmare began last year when Netherton became plagued by rats.

A faulty drain cover was blamed and United Utilities sealed the drains.

Mrs Stuart said: “We were fine from around Christmas until July. Since then the problem has become as bad as ever.

“I am so depressed and afraid.

“Recently there was a horrendous stink in the house – a rat had died in the roof. It is like living in a nightmare.

“I don’t even want to invite people in here any more.”

Mrs Stuart rents the house from a private landlord who, she said, tried to resolve the problem but to no avail.

She added: “I have spent a lot of money and time making this into the home I wanted but I don’t see any option now but to leave.”

Polly Rourke, of United Utilities, said Allerdale council had alerted the company to problems in Elizabeth Terrace, and in the Derwent Street and Cloffocks areas of Workington.

She added: “Since then we’ve been baiting the manholes on the public sewers in those areas.

“After this we will do a follow-up visit to check and re-bait where necessary. If there are rats in there we want rid of them for the sake of local people.”

Allerdale council has also tried to find the source of the plague.

Ernie Davidson, council environmental services manager, said officers had checked for rubbish or other issues that might have attracted rats but nothing of any significance was found. He said the matter had been referred to United Utilities.

He added: “The council has a legal duty to ensure that owners keep their land free from rats and mice.

“We do not, however, have a statutory duty to carry out treatments.

“We offer a pest advice and control service to home owners, businesses and the wider community.”

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