Rat infestation on Rose Street is cleared

Rose Street South Lane has rat problems. Picture: Bill Henry
Rose Street South Lane has rat problems. Picture: Bill Henry
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A RAT outbreak near one of the city’s most famous streets has been quashed after legal notices were served on 15 properties.

Exterminators were drafted in to wipe out a rat influx at Rose Street South Lane – an area described by experts as suffering a “long-standing problem”.

The lane runs parallel with the bar-laden tourist draw of Rose Street, known locally as the “Amber Mile”.

It comes months after the city reduced bin collections to fortnightly, prompting claims it would lead to a rat “explosion” with some pest controllers insisting call-outs had risen by 30 per cent.

The rats pose a health risk and are understood to have caused damage in the area by gnawing through electrical wires, pipes, and food containers, and tunnelling under the road and pavement.

It is understood the area is now clear of rats and has been “proofed” to deter a fresh wave of vermin.

Rob Hunter, manager of the Black Cat pub on Rose Street – whose business did not receive a pest notice – blamed gaps in the bin collection timetable for the rat flare-up.

He said: “There were environmental wardens here last week, checking residents’ bins.

“One problem is residents on either side of the lane have their rubbish collected on different weeks. Sometimes people will put their bins out and they will lay there for days, as bin men will refuse to collect them. That’s just one of the crazy rules that the bin men seem to have.”

Craig Donaldson, 26, who lives on Rose Street, said: “I used to work in a bar on Rose Street and we used to see them in the back alleys when we were disposing of rubbish. They were pretty big.”

Silvia Hill, the director at Wee Critters Pest Control, said rat-plagued lanes near Rose Street were nothing new and suggested unemptied bins could fuel the outbreak.

“We are aware of a long-standing problem in that area, and regularly have call-outs,” she said.

“Rats are very clever, and if there is a food source for them, and somewhere to nest, then they can breed very quickly.

“Rats can cause all sorts of damage by gnawing and chewing though pipes, wires and other parts of buildings. They can also spread disease.

“If there is a good food source, from unemptied bins, or people leaving food out, then you can attract rats.”

Last year, the city revealed it had received 4722 calls about rats from 2004 to 2012.

In a statement a spokeswoman said: “Council staff proactively and effectively dealt with a small pocket of rats in this ­vicinity in order to prevent any cleanliness issues affecting properties and businesses.”

During the switch to fortnightly collections last October, in a bid to encourage more recycling at home, pest control experts revealed business had been booming as rats flocked in amid a collection backlog.

Some exterminators said overflowing bins “played a part” in accelerating vermin numbers and the amount of daily calls they received from concerned residents.

The council has previously insisted the vermin population was “largely stable and under control”.