Residents count the cost of pest control

PUBLISHED: 11:07 23 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:40 06 May 2010

The old Blue Star Garage

The old Blue Star Garage

RESIDENTS in Mid Beds will soon have to pay if they call out the rat catcher. Until now the service has been free as the district council attempted to reduce the problem of vermin. But a pensioner says rats are on the increase and health and lives could b

RESIDENTS in Mid Beds will soon have to pay if they call out the rat catcher.

Until now the service has been free as the district council attempted to reduce the problem of vermin.

But a pensioner says rats are on the increase and health and lives could be put at risk because people will not want to foot the bill to bring a pest controller in to try and destroy them.

One area of Biggleswade that is suffering from rats is around London Road where the old Blue Star Garage was recently demolished.

One resident, a widow aged 67 who does not want to be named, said since the garage had come down more rats had been seen in the area.

She said rats had tunnelled into her greenhouse and she and neighbours had seen rats in gardens and in the street not just in London Road but also in nearby Elm Road.

"Rats are being seen all the time in gardens and in the street and something has got to be done to try and get rid of them. The council should be responsible for the problem because a lot of people are very worried," said the woman.

"Rats can cause many health problems and it is these issues the council should be thinking about before someone is taken seriously ill. People must remember that disease from rats can kill.

"They are vile creatures. I am sure many have come from the old garage site. They have burrowed into my greenhouse and I am frightened to go in there without banging the door first to make sure they have run off.

"They also chewed their way through the door of an outbuilding and nested in there. I have lived in my house for 40 years and we have always had rats around here.

"The poison goes down but the rats are still around.

"What is worrying a lot of people, especially pensioners, is that we are now going to be charged by Mid Beds Council to call out a rat catcher.

"I am sure many people won't bother calling the council if they see a rat in their garden or have nests because they don't want to pay for the service."

She said many residents believe rats are also coming from old storm drains which the council should investigate.

A spokesman for Mid Beds District Council said the charges for all pest control would come into operation from April this year, with some exclusions, but claimed the reason was "we are only recovering costs".

He added: "The charge is not yet known as the pest control service is currently out to tender."

North Herts District Council makes no charge to pensioners if they have a rat problem but the normal charge for any pest control call out is £46.60 and for those on benefits it is £12.92.

Stevenage Borough Council does not charge for pest control but owners of commercial properties do have to pay a charge.

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