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Darlington allotment holders' frustration at rats plague
COUNCIL chiefs have pledged to investigate after allotment holders in a North-East town said they were swamped by an infestation of rats.
Gardeners from the allotments in Salters Lane North, Darlington, have notices a steep increase in the numbers of mice and rats in the site.
John Kitching, 65, who has had a plot on the allotments for the past ten years, said he has had no luck trying to get Darlington Borough Council to remove them.
RAT PACK: Allotment owners, Peter McMain, John Kitching, Norman Toft and John McKeown
The council said allotment tenants were responsible for getting rid of the rats.
Mr Kitching said: “You expect the odd rat or mouse, but there seems to be an awful lot this year – hundreds, maybe thousands.
“I have never seen so many rats in my life. I have been on to the council, they say they cannot do anything to get shot of them.
“This is the worst I have ever seen it, you normally get the odd one, but there are loads of them.”
FRUIT RAT: A rat feeds on brambles in the allotment
Mr Kitching, who has seen some of his crops destroyed by rats, said the council used to put poison down to deal with them.
He added: “They told me there were not allowed to give out the poison any more, I could not believe it.
“It has got beyond a joke.”
The council said legal guidelines prevented it from handing out poising.
A spokeswoman said: “Allotment tenants are responsible for the upkeep of their own plot. This includes adhering to the Prevention of Pests Act, which states an allotment tenant is responsible for keeping the land free of rats.”
A nearby resident, who did not want to be named, added: “Just days ago, I found a dead rat in my street. I have lived here ten years and never seen one before.
“The fact that there now seems to be hundreds, potentially thousands, of rats, just a stone’s throw from my front door, is worrying.”
Posters are displayed on allotments offering guidance on how to reduce the numbers of rats.”
The council spokeswoman added: “In this case, the allotments officer was advised that the tenant was putting down poison under his own shed to eradicate [the problem] and was under the impression it was under control. She will visit the site to review the situation.”
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