Residents of a Newcastle community are in despair due to a "serious" issue with rats.

One local said she can't even leave her doors or windows open anymore without the creatures scuttling into her home.

Beth Nicholson, who lives at Tamworth Road, Arthur’s Hill, said: “As a resident of the area for eleven years, I have never seen it as bad as this.

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“There are always rats, up to five or six at a time, running across the yard, despite there being no waste stored there.”

The 36-year-old added: “I cannot even leave the kitchen window or back door open for a moment without one or two rats wandering in.

“It seems only a matter of time before they find another way in.”

Beth and others in the area have been connecting through a mutual aid group where they have been sharing the same concerns.

One resident who lives on Sidney Grove shared a video, shown above, of the rats that were caught outside their house.

Beth added: “Many rats have been seen running around the back lanes and bins

“I and many others here have not seen so many rats in this area for the last decade.”

Beth is also concerned that Newcastle City Council are placing responsibility on each individual household to pay for the pest control.

She added: “The problem is not specific to their property or a result of their own waste disposal habits. Not only is the charge of £84 unaffordable for many local residents, but this piecemeal approach to controlling an area-wide problem is also clearly ineffective.”

The local representative of Arthur’s Hill’s, councilor, Stephen Powers, said: “We have been working with residents to find solutions for a number of problems in the area around waste, which in turn may affect the visibility of rats.

A rat is spotted outside a window on a tree
A rat is spotted outside a window on a tree

“Because of our lobbying, the Council has already put into place increased street cleaning, enforcement action against fly-tippers and agreed to a number of trails to find a more long-term solution.

"In terms of rat sightings specifically, we have got Northumbrian Water to prioritise our area for a ‘sewer baiting scheme’, the Council Pest Control Team have cleared nests found on public land and highways, while the highways teams have repaired roads and curbs where damaged.

“We are also aware that the Council is undertaken enforcement action against some individual landlords that are not carrying out pest control on their property."

A spokesperson for Newcastle City Council said: “We appreciate that it can be distressing seeing rats in neighbourhoods.

“Rats are unfortunately a part of life in cities across the world and we continually look to identify any steps that can be taken to tackle this ongoing issue, and work with partners and our communities to try and ensure as rodent-free an environment as we possibly can.

“This includes a forthcoming pilot project in Arthur’s Hill and Wingrove, to tackle issues of litter and fly tipping in back lanes.

“Fly-tipping and littering can compound pest problems, and, we know during the pandemic, rats moved away from areas with more food businesses, which were closed, and into residential areas. Coupled with people spending more time at home during lockdown this led the issue to be more visible.

“Our dedicated team of qualified pest control technicians provides an expert, cost-effective service to tackle them wherever they are reported in Newcastle.

“Of course residents can help us in this by placing all rubbish into bins, not overfilling them or leaving side waste in the street, and helping keep our streets the clean places we all want them to be.”

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