FEARS raised over the sight of rats across East Staffordshire has seen council chiefs issue advice on how to deal with the problematic vermin.
The enforcement team at East Staffordshire Borough Council have begun to receive an increase in calls from people who have spotted rats in their garden and are worried they will have to stop feeding their garden birds as the pests move closer to homes searching for leftover food.
If rats start to infest an area, people sometimes have to use poisons to get rid of them, which while perfectly legal, can be a danger to other wildlife if not used properly.
The team also receives many complaints about rubbish left in gardens such as bags of domestic waste, sofas and mattresses.
The authority is now advising that these are removed as soon as possible as they provide a nesting ground for rodents and other animals which could be roaming.
Robert Hardwick, deputy leader for regulatory services, said: “Each year we deal with hundreds of complaints regarding rubbish in back gardens and on private land and serve notices to clear and maintain the land and keep it free of refuse and litter.
“A key priority is to focus on creating a cleaner, safer community for all. Food waste will act as an attraction to rodents, whilst soft furnishings and material can act as bedding, especially in the winter months.
“The work that the enforcement team does is vital in preventing rats. I would ask our communities to work with us by ensuring their gardens and land are maintained.”
The council has issued some tips on how to deal with rats:
• Don’t put out too much food. There’s only so much garden birds can eat in a day, so it’s better to feed them little and often;
• Keep it moving. Try to avoid putting food in the same place each day;
• The only way is up. If possible, place food off the ground; and
• Keep it clean. Rats aren’t afraid of tucking into mouldy leftovers so regularly clean bird tables.
More information is available by emailing email@example.com or calling 01283 508576.