Drain near the residents' homes
A family and their neighbours in Hengoed near Caerphilly have been plagued by rats despite the ongoing efforts of their local authority.
Some residents of Hawthorne Avenue claim they have been living with the vermin for many years and they are fed up with them.
Leanne Meredith, her husband Darren and two young children have been sharing their council house with rats, on and off, for ten months.
They first noticed something was wrong in May 2011 when an unpleasant odour filled the house.
“We had a horrific smell in the bathroom of a dead rodent which was confirmed by a pest control officer,” said Leanne. “We had maggots actually on the carpet. We had flies everywhere. It was just horrific.”
Leanne contacted the council straight away but nearly a week later council workers found an infestation of rats in the family’s attic.
The vermin were there in sufficient numbers to have produced enough urine to stain the ceiling of eight-year-old Jamie Meredith’s bedroom below.
Rats were nesting in the insulation so Council workers removed it as well as leaving traps and bait.
This seemed to do the trick because the tell-tale signs, scratching and bumping from the attic, seemed to go away for six months.
But when the insulation was replaced the rats came back and the family and Council has been fighting them ever since although a recent visit from a Pest Control Officer suggested the attic might now be free of rats.
One of the Meredith’s neighbours, Terry Farr, says Hawthorne Avenue has had a problem with rats all the time he’s been there – 13 years.
“They’re full in the sewers around here,” he said.
Another neighbour, Hayley Knight, said: “I’ve seen the rats out in the garden myself.”
And private tenant Mike Matthews has been finding them in his attic. “Well I’ve killed five at the moment - I’m talking, just under kitten size,” he said.
The law is very strict when it comes to rats and mice because of the diseases they can spread so all local authorities have a duty to keep their district free of infestation.
Caerphilly Council has defended its efforts on Hawthorne Avenue to clear the street of rats and dismissed anecdotal evidence pointing to a prolonged period of infestation.
A spokesman said: "We understand how distressing this issue has been for the family and wish to place on record our sincere apologies for this difficult situation.
“Having successfully treated the initial infestation we regret the fact that the problem recurred, but the Council has acted with diligence to investigate and address the problem.
“We would like to thank the Meredith family for their patience and understanding and can confirm that we have now identified the potential access points into the property and remedial works have been undertaken to address the issue."