Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton 'Ratman' blamed for Highfield infestation

Rat - generic
Image caption Grain and bread has been left out for rats in the Highfield area of Southampton

An "anti-social individual" - dubbed Ratman - has been blamed for a suburban rodent infestation.

The suspect, said to have " a grudge against the community" in the Highfield area of Southampton, has allegedly left "bin bags full of bread" in the area.

Councillor Paul O'Neill said the man was known to be scattering up to 300kg of grain a week in school playgrounds and public areas.

The city council said it was aware of rodent issues in the area.

Mr O'Neill said Ratman - as he is known in the local press - had been leaving food out on "an industrial scale".

"It has become progressively getting worse as the rats are breeding," he said.

Rev Mike Archer, of Highfield Church, which has closed its graveyard due to an infestation, said work was "in process" to take care of the rats.

Image copyright Hugh Venables
Image caption Highfield church graveyard was one of the areas affected by rats

A Southampton City Council spokesman said: "We are aware of the rodent issues in Highfield and our teams are on the ground taking the appropriate action to resolve the issue for residents in the area with as little disruption as possible."

"Environmental Health are investigating, and we are assisting where we can with their investigation," a police spokesman said.

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