Northern Ireland

Belfast man catches 19 rats in 24 hours at home

Rats Image copyright PA
Image caption While the cat was away, the rats played havoc in a Belfast home, say the McCann family

A man who caught 19 rats at his house within a 24-hour period has said his young family have been forced to leave their home for safety reasons.

Michael McCann, his wife Paula and two young children are staying with friends after moving out of their Belfast home.

They told Belfast Live their rented house was "overrun" by rodents when they returned home from a holiday.

The couple said their cat, who they put into a cattery during their trip, had likely been keeping the rats at bay.

'Big, grey rats'

Mr McCann told the website: "I caught eight rats in the first 12 hours of having the traps down, then another four, and over 24 hours I'd caught a total of 19.

"They were big, grey rats.

"The look of them was disgusting and to think they were in our home, near our children, was awful."

Image caption The family have left their home in Belfast's Rutland Street after it was 'overrun' by rats

The couple said the rats had left faeces all over their Rutland Street house and chewed through the electric cables of their washing machine, microwave and kettle.

Mrs McCann said: "The house is owned by the Housing Executive and we've done our best to look after it really well despite the damp.

"But these rats are too much to cope with. They're disgusting and a danger to the health of my entire family and we just cannot stay there."

'Ongoing rat problem'

A spokesman for Belfast City Council told the BBC its environmental health team had visited the property and confirmed that 19 rats had been caught at the house.

"Our environmental health officers and pest control team are aware of the ongoing rat problem at the property on Rutland Street," said a council statement.

"We are working closely with the Housing Executive to resolve the issue to ensure that the property is made habitable again."

The Housing Executive said: "We first received a report of rats in the dwelling two weeks ago when an environmental health team was engaged and we carried out repairs to the property based on their report.

"After a follow-up inspection by pest controllers yesterday [Tuesday], we were told rats had returned to the property.

"We received another inspection report yesterday and more work will be carried out by the Housing Executive on the property immediately."

The housing body said it was discussing housing options with the McCann family, which "include a possible permanent move away from this property".

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