A FAMILY plagued by rats is calling on Shropshire Council to force a neighbour to clean up his act.
Louise Roberts and her four children feel like “prisoners in their own home” due to a rat infestation they believe is a direct result of the poor state of next door’s house, owned by an elderly man known locally as a hoarder.
Miss Roberts, of Old Whittington Road, Gobowen, said the last two weeks had been a nightmare for her and her children, aged two, four, six and 15, and she was considering moving house as a result.
She has been unable to let her children play in the garden at the front or the back of the house and is too afraid to open the windows because the rodents have been known to scale the exterior walls.
“It’s just awful,” she said. “I can’t sleep at night for fear they’re going to get into the house and I won’t let the children out into the garden, especially the two-year-old because she’ll be picking all sorts up.
“And I’m embarrassed what people think when they walk past and see rats sitting on our window ledge.”
The 36-year-old explained that every time one of the children opens the door she has to shout at them to shut it again quickly so none of the pests get in.
“We feel like prisoners in our own home,” she said. “We’re all constantly on edge.”
According to Miss Roberts, the previous tenants had the same problem a couple of years ago and the rats managed to get into the house through a hole in the flat roof.
Now she is appealing to Shropshire Council to intervene, but claims it will not force him to tidy up his house and garden.
“They’ve told him he needs to empty the house, but he’s not going to,” she complained.
“They came to put bait down, but said they couldn’t do it on his land so they’ve had to do it in mine and the other neighbours. Something’s got to be done.”
A spokesman for Shropshire Council said the authority had been investigating the presence of rodents at the neighbour’s house and pest control had been actively treating the infestation.
A statutory notice has been served to the occupant demanding the material thought to be attracting and harbouring rats be removed.
If this is not adhered to, the council will carry out the work itself.
Tony Thirkill, pictured, Louise Roberts' landlord, added: "I spent a lot of money doing the property up at the beginning of the year and made it really nice.
"But now there's rats running everywhere.
"Rentokil will assess the situation for free but if they have to act, which I know they will, I've no idea how much it could cost me."