Invasion of the rat: Edinburgh facing worst plague in 20 years

Edinburgh is facing its worst rat plague in 20 years, according to pest control experts struggling to keep up with calls.

A “perfect storm” of the continuing hot weather, overflowing bins and numerous building works has seen the Capital infested with the vermin.

Some pest control firms in the Capital have reported a 35 per cent increase in reports of rats over the last two months alone.

Sylvia Hill, owner of Wee Critters Pest Control, said the rampant rodent problem was particularly bad in the town centre and Gorgie, Dalry and Slateford Road where there has been a 40 per cent increase compared to last year.

Heat and food waste has added to the increase in vermin

Sylvia said: “We attend to rats in all areas of Edinburgh, not one area is clear of rats.

“The EH3 and EH4 areas are also heavily infested, with a rising increase over the past few months. Portobello/Joppa has had its fair share, within homes and communal areas. Although there has been a lot of building work and rats are always in abundance as they are being disturbed.

“The worst within communal areas are Gorgie and Dalry and EH6 at Leith due to bin store problems.”

Sylvia’s husband Graeme Hill, director at Wee Critters, said he “has not seen the rat situation as bad as this in 20 years of pest controlling in Edinburgh”.

Their son Andy, also a pest controller added: “This is quite unbelievable, I have cleared certain areas of rats and just when I think I’m on top of it, more appear.”

Council tenant Jamie Anderson from Granton said the problem has become so severe his children can’t play in the garden.

“We woke up on Sunday at 7.30am and opened our curtains to see a dozen rats were on our lawn chewing our belongings and covering our kids’ toys with whatever bacteria and diseases they carry.”

The father-of-two said he is frustrated with not knowing who he can turn to for help.

“There should be one point of contact for this. We’ve been bounced between council departments and we just want the problem sorted.”

Brian Cavanagh, director at Tae a Moose Pest Control Ltd said: “Rats love to live under decking and garden huts, they get food from bird feeders, compost bins and fallen fruit.”

Dee Ward-Thompson of British Pest Control Association said: “The inextricable link between litter and pests is clear. More rubbish, particularly food stuffs, supports the emergence of pests. It’s not just an environmental matter, but a public health issue.”

A council spokesperson said: “While there has been a slight increase in the number of sightings of rats according to our inquiries log, we have not experienced a significant rise.

“Our pest control service respond to any complaints of rats in public spaces and council properties, as well as providing a commercial services to private tenants and homeowners.”