A Derry father of four has claimed his street is so over run with rats, his children are forced to stay indoors and watch the pests play in the garden.
In fact the rodents have become so brazen, the man said his children watch them play on their climbing frame and decking even during daylight hours.
The family live in Glendale Park.
The father, who did not wish to be identified, provided footage of his kids watching the vermin play in the garden while they are forced to stay inside due to health concerns.
The pest problem is at such an extent, the man told the ‘Journal:’ “They are living so close and are so used to humans that they virtually take the poison from my hand.
“I was laying it in the gutters and had only just stood up, I was no more than two feet away and one rat came out, lifted the poison and ran off with it. They would eat from your hand if you let them. It is clear they are watching from behind the fence.
“They have no fear.
“We’ve been completely over run by them. I think the problem is that people are leaving rubbish outside. There are also neighbours who leave pet food out all day every day. The problem has been going on for at least three years but now it is worse than ever.
“I can’t let my kids play in the garden anymore. They have a tent, slide and climbing frame which are only used by rats at this stage. It isn’t safe to let children play there even during the daylight.”
The homeowner said he laid dozens of pieces of poison but, “they only lasted one and a half hours before they were all taken by the rats. At that stage my heart really started to beat I thought; ‘How many rats are we dealing with here?’
“I’ve watched groups of up to four rats at a time playing and having a good old time on my decking. Now I am freaking out completely due both to the amount of poison taken and the manner in which they lift it. “
The local dad appealed to other Glendale residents to be more wary of the problem, “especially when it comes to dog food in dishes and rubbish outside”.
A spokesperson from Derry City Council said: “Council does not have a statutory duty to provide a pest control service and have not provided such a service since 2002.
“A number of pest control companies operate in the Derry City Council Area.”
The spokesperson added: “In cases where an infestation occurs in accommodation governed by social landlords, the tenant should contact the Housing Executive or relevant Housing Association who will be able to offer advice and arrange treatment. Similarly, the responsibility for pest control falls on the landlord or owner in privately owned/rental properties. Derry City Council’s Environmental Health Officers can provide advice and will investigate all public health complaints.”