A woman who had a rat crawl across her pillow as she lay in bed has spoken out as the rodents take over a neighbourhood.
Residents in the Plungington area of Preston claimed to be ‘overrun’ with rats and say they fear the problem could get worse.
Helen, who asked not to be named in full, said she saw a rat crawl past her head as she was lying in bed only three months ago.
And she says that other residents have reported seeing rats on a daily basis, while she herself has been seeing the creatures in the garden and hearing them in the loft for the last three weeks.
Helen, 51, told Lancs Live : “I was decorating my bedroom in June and there were bits exposed, and one got into the linen basket.
“Later, I was lying in bed and I heard this rustling noise, and I moved my head, and it came running past the pillow. I was like, ‘Oh my God!
“That made me feel disgusted. It was in my house, and it wasn’t my fault!
“I’m not one of these people who doesn’t clean their houses – my house is absolutely spotless!”
The problem inside the house was only resolved after she took matters into her own hands and blocked up all the gaps or holes where she thought they could be gaining entry.
However, she still sees them in her garden and hears them in the loft, and despite having had a visit from Preston City Council’s pest control department, is very concerned that the rats may once again get back into her house.
She added: “I heard them this week in the loft and in the garden. I have blocked any holes up in the house, but I am concerned because of the germs and disease they carry. If my grandson who is six is here, and there is a rat in the garden, its just not nice.
“”The one in the garden looks quite settled – it’s as if he’s set up camp.
“I know they have got to exist, but there is a place for them and it is not in my garden or in my house!”
She said she had been visited by the pest control department from Preston City Council earlier this week, who had put bait down in the loft and poison in the garden, and there had been a promise of a follow up visit.
According to Helen, the officer who visited reported that rats were becoming a problem in the area and that the solution may be to lift manholes on the small roads around the Plungington Road and dangle bait.
She added: “He said, I think they are becoming a problem around here from what I am seeing.”
Helen believes that the problem has increased since the closure of some city centre restaurants during Covid which may have sent the creatures out of city centres looking for food, and she also believes fly tipping could be a cause.
She added: “It would help if people stopped fly tipping, and if they did something to report fly tipping when they see it. Also, if the councils did a bit more to keep an eye on a regular basis, and get litter cleared up, it would help.”
Preston City Councillor Pav Akhtar highlighted that the case had been reported to the council which had responded, adding: “She reported it to the council and the officer has responded and been to the house, and set out a course of action, which really shows that the system is working.
“If people do have any issues, the council runs a pretty good service so offices will do their job, which is to respond. It’s good that they have come out and responded in this way.”
He highlighted that rat infestations were currently a national issue, as opposed to a local one, and that the council was doing what was expected by responding.
Councillor Akhtar added that fly tipping was a huge issue, not just in Preston but across the country, and that with government cuts to local council funding, the council was doing a really good job in running services.
He added that residents could report any issues over fly tipping or rats by visiting Preston City Council’s website, and that any fly tipping issues would be dealt with within two days, adding, “The system is there; let’s keep using it, and if there were ever an issue, we have got the systems in place to deal with it.”