A SELKIRK couple say they are being plagued by rats which they believe have been unhomed following flood protection work in a neighbouring field.
Patricia Charman, who has lived in Bannerfield Drive with husband John for 16 years, said they have never encountered any problems with vermin until flood protection work began on Angles Field across the road from the estate.
However, the couple, who have a 13-year-old son, are now being plagued with rats in the house and garden, counting a maximum of five in the garden in one day.
Mrs Charman said: “I don’t know what is attracting them over here, but I’ve had to stop putting food out for the birds on the bird table, as I have spotted them sitting there.
“This needs to be sorted out quickly as the rats carry disease, and we have neighbours with young families.
“The longer the problem goes on the more there will be, as rats can have eight in a litter, they can be sexually mature in two months and can have half a dozen litters a year.
“They are big, they are fast and they are clever. We tried putting out poison, but it only worked once. They don’t touch it now.”
Mr Charman, who caught a rat in a trap under his shed, said: “I looked out of the window one day and five baby rats were on my trellis. Once I opened the window, they scarpered.”
The couple keep guinea pigs in their back garden, and are worried about the rats passing on diseases to them.
Mrs Charman added: “I have seen them escape from our garden and scoot under our neighbour’s coal scuttle.”
A spokesperson from housing association SBHA said: “Following receipt of a report on Monday this week of sightings of rats from a resident in the Bannerfield area, the following day, at the request of SBHA, a pest control contractor attended the site to investigate.
“Normally, the treatment for most common household pests and minor infestations are the responsibility of the tenant, but in this case, SBHA decided to intervene to ensure that the problem is addressed as quickly as possible.”
A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson said the flood protection project team had not received any reports of any rat sightings either from local residents or the on-site workforce.
“However, the project team has spoken to RJ McLeod – who has also not received any reported sightings – and has asked that it review the site at Angles Field and through Bannerfield to identify any evidence of rodent nesting or activity. If such evidence becomes apparent, appropriate measures will be undertaken to manage the issue.
“The team will continue to monitor the situation and asks that residents report any future sightings directly to it.”
Sightings can be reported to the public information room at the main site compound on South Bridge Street, by phone on 01750 725448, or via www.selkirkfloodscheme.com
This story was taken from our sister paper, The Southern Reporter.