Thursday 26 April 2018

Plague of rats invades leafy suburb of Irish town

Rats have invaded the town
Rats have invaded the town

Chris Kilpatrick

A plague of rats is threatening to overrun a leafy suburban housing area, residents fear.

Residents in the Sourhill area of Ballymena say they have witnessed a huge rise in the rodent population in recent months.

They have been warned to be vigilant and keep their doors shut while efforts are made to kill off the vermin.

Pictures show rats roaming close to homes in broad daylight, with videos showing them scurrying past dog walkers close to a golf course in the area.

A major operation is under way to tackle the problem, but anxious householders say more must be done to stop it escalating.

They fear their homes will be overrun by the summer if the vermin are not culled.

To highlight the problem, people in the area have set up a Facebook page on which dozens of pictures and videos have been posted.

Bait boxes have been set out and signs warning of the problem erected. One of those affected demanded action be taken and urged the removal of tree debris and litter. Furthermore, as no bait boxes have been placed in this location — the population will continue to spiral out of control,” the resident said.

“Today I have seen rats frolicking on rough ground in broad daylight just opposite Dans Road turn-off from the Sourhill Road. They had gotten so bold they were actually scaring away birds that had swooped down beside them.”

Another added: “Don’t know where all these rats are coming from. I know a lady who has them in her backyard as well. Very scary.”

DUP MLA Paul Frew said he had spoken with landowners and pest control measures had been taken. “Of course, this will take a number of days to work,” he said.

“They (the rats) seem to be nesting in the County Hall grounds then feeding in the woods and along the roadside. They are eating nuts falling off the trees which line the road. If the bait does not work the owners will then try and lift all the nuts off the ground and strip the trees. Please be vigilant and keep your doors shut.”

Meanwhile, residents in Derry yesterday hit out at a rat infestation they said was making their lives a misery. The problem at Strand Road is said to be so bad one woman said she was afraid to open her back door for fear of the vermin entering her home.

Residents said that the rats were being attracted to the area by rubbish — particularly discarded food — being dumped at a derelict site yards from their homes.

Some of the rats leaving their nest in town’s Sourhill area

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