‘Urgent action’ to eradicate allotment’s growing rat problem

Generic photo of rats. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth

Generic photo of rats. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth - Credit: PA

A growing rat problem at an allotment has prompted a council to take immediate action to eradicate rodents in what it describes as an 'urgent health and safety issue'.

Thetford Town Council posted a notice at Mundford Road allotments in Thetford in February this year asking allotment holders to help reduce the vermin problems at the site.

But writing on its Twitter account, the council said that while its members of staff 'acknowledge and appreciate the efforts allotment holders have made, after a professional assessment it has been decided urgent action is required'.

The Suffolk Pest Control Company has now been appointed to tackle the growing problem, with Martin Buckle, from the company, saying: 'Our goal is to eradicate all rats and maintain a rat-free environment for you to tend your allotments in.'

It now plans to deploy tamper resistant rodent bait stations across the site, telling plot holders: 'We may need to place some in your allotment space.'

Those who notice the devices, some of which contain in-built tracking devices, in their areas are asked to 'not touch or remove these boxes as it is important they remain where our technicians place them and that we can return to inspect them'.

Mr Buckle also urged people: 'Do not let your allotment become a safe zone for rats.

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'Rats like to nest under cover, this is often sheds, piles of wood or rubbish or even overgrowth.

'By keeping your allotment neat and tidy we will limit nest site opportunities.'

He also encouraged people to place compost bins on top of suitable wire mesh or on a concrete slab base, adding: 'Compost bins are a source of food.'

Chickens should only be given what they need to eat each day, he added, saying: 'Limiting rat access to your chickens feed will deny them an alternative food source to our products.'

The pest controllers will visit once a week from June 18 for approximately two months in a bid to combat the problem.

Plot holders have been asked to remove all locks to allow access to the allotments.

Thetford Town Council's Twitter account added: 'This is a health and safety issue and therefore the council have a duty to ensure that it is dealt with appropriately, which may require the removal of locks from allotments not made accessible.'

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