Fears over rising Sheffield rat sightings
A colony of rats has spooked residents on a Sheffield estate who say they are seeing far more rodents in daylight and they are getting too close for comfort.
Dozens of residents on Wadsley Park Village have seen rats scuttling past, eating from bird feeders, loitering at the playground and playing field and even digging holes to crawl under fences between gardens.
The British Pest Control Association said overall, there had been a 50 per cent increase in rat activity nationwide.
It said empty buildings, deserted streets and reduced footfall provide an ideal opportunity for rodents to thrive, with rats seemingly becoming bolder and more innovative in finding food and shelter in the shutdown.
Natalie Bungay, technical officer, said: “Rats in particular are becoming more visible in areas of population.
“With less footfall across cities and towns, there is less associated food waste being left in bins and on the floor.
“As a result, rat populations are likely to move further afield to satisfy their need for a food source and this, in turn, is likely to cause more sightings.
“By nature, rats will also try to avoid humans directly and so, with less of us walking the streets, they may be getting a little bolder and possibly be seen in areas they normally wouldn’t.”
Coun Penny Baker, Sheffield Council Liberal Democrat member for Stannington ward, said there had been a longstanding problem with rats on the estate, but said the latest reports were concerning.
She said: “People are at home all the time now so are noticing them more but there has always been a problem, probably because the old church has never been developed and there are also watercourses.
“If I saw a rat I would think twice about letting my child play out and if people are nervous about being in the garden or walking around, that's not nice.
“I have raised this with Streets Ahead because if there is an increased number we need to be dealing with it.”