One-woman rat protest at council offices

When the rat catcher wouldn't turn out, one householder took her rodent problem straight to the Town Hall.

Friday, 15th June 2018, 5:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 6:06 pm

Rebecca Watson turned up at the front counter of South Ribble’s offices and handed shocked staff a grisly present.

“I gave them a dead rat,” she said after her protest visit. “Their pest control people wouldn’t come out unless we paid a fee, so when we caught one and killed it I decided they should have it.”

Rebecca had been complaining of a rat infestation in Broadgreen Close, Leyland for nine weeks, without success. Because the property wasn’t council-owned, the authority quoted £41 to come out.

Photo Neil Cross Becky Watson says the rat problem is getting so bad for residents in Broadgreen Close, Leyland, that they can't enjoy their gardens

“That’s disgusting. There are people round here who can’t even afford a loaf of bread, never mind pay for a rat catcher,” she said. “The rats are a big problem, we can’t leave our doors open, or sit in the garden. They’re a real danger to children - there’s a school opposite and we’ve seen them on the school field - yet no-one seemed to be taking it seriously. Leyland councillor Claire Hamilton was the only one who seemed interested. She came round and then got onto the council to do something.

“I phoned our landlords, Your Housing, and they said contact environmental health. The council said there would be a charge. They wouldn’t even come out to dispose of one I’d caught in a trap. So we had to kill it and then I put it in a bag and took it to the council offices. It absolutely stank and the looks I got were incredible.”

A South Ribble spokesperson defended the £41 fee saying: “Because these houses are not council-owned we have to make a small charge. It’s really down to Your Housing. “Nevertheless we are going out to bait the sewers and offer the lady some advice.”

Coun Claire Hamilton said: “South Ribble is supposed to be one of the best places to live in the UK, yet we are going to be over-run with rats if we don’t crack down on this problem. I’m against charging people, many of whom can’t afford to pay for a visit. We need to look at this again.”

A spokesperson for Your Housing was unavailable for comment.