The theories behind the rat problem in Sheffield's Graves Park

Readers have attested to a rat problem in a popular Sheffield park – but say the solution needs to start at home.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 1:07 pm

The Star reported yesterday about residents’ concerns that Graves Park in Norton had become infested with rats, amid calls for the city council to crack down on the issue.

Today, dozens of readers have shared their own experiences of seeing vermin in the park.

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Concern over rat infestation in popular Sheffield Park

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Stock image of a rat in a pipe. Residents in Sheffield say tackling the rat problem in Graves Park needs to start with visitors.

But as well as joining calls for the council to act, several residents say tackling the problem can start with visitors clearing their own litter and being considerate when they feed ducks in the pond.

“I counted seven on my walk near the duck ponds,” said reader Janice Bennett on the Star’s Facebook page.

“I did let the council park and gardens know, they said it was because people feed seed to the ducks and rats come for the remains.”

“They only go where people leave food for them!” wrote reader Jeanette Redshaw.

“Either people are not taking their rubbish home, or not putting it in a bin. If there is no food there will be no rats.”

Sebah Gascoigne added: "People leaving bread on the banks of the duck ponds encourage the rats to stay and breed.

“Also people littering near the cafe. Take your litter home if the bins are full.”

However, readers also pointed to wider reasons for rats spreading into the park.

Several residents posited that the aftereffects of restaurants shutting in lockdown was less full bins and discarded food last year, which has led to rodents leaving the city centre.

But another criticism leveled at the city council was that the move from a weekly to a fortnightly bin collection eight years ago in 2012 has bred rats for years.

“This is what happens when bin collection gets changed to fortnightly from weekly,” wrote Andrew Barton.

Mary Robbings agreed, writing: “The whole city has been over run since they changed bin collection.”

Dan Coyle wrote: “Totally agree. They feed the ducks in Graves, there’s the animal farm, people who just leave their rubbish where they sit, etc. But the biggest problem has been restaurants and pubs being closed as rats had no bins to forage in so they move to where they can get food.”