A woman battling cancer says her home is “under siege” by rats and is pleading with the council to rehome her.

The 52-year-old, who does not want to be named, has been staying in a caravan for the past month in Inverclyde, saying the fear of rats getting in her home forced her to flee.

She says she is terrified to go back to the council house in Old Kilpatrick and says medics have told her not to return as the vermin pose too much of a health risk as she undergoes chemotherapy.

The council says it is seeking to rehome her and says officers have visited eight times since August, with the last five visits showing no rat activity.

But the woman says she doesn’t feel safe enough to return.

She said: “I’ve been under siege by rats. They are everywhere and some are the size of cats.

“I’ve been sat living in fear in my house hearing them scratching to get in.

“They seem to be coming from the drains and there’s literally hundreds of them in the adjoining gardens, gnawing through brick and concrete.

“I’ve been living in hell fighting cancer while dealing with this.

“The situation is making me very weak as I try to fight through my chemotherapy.

“I should have had a stem cell transplant by now but continual infections, stress and the inability to eat or sleep has delayed my treatment by months.

“I’m completely broken with it all.”

She says the problem began in 2013 and claims the council failed to properly seal a hole in her kitchen, which is on the ground floor of a flatted block.

She continued: “In October last year, I saw a big black rat in my kitchen and a massive entry hole in the boiler cupboard.

“I was hysterical and phoned pest control.

“I’m convinced a rat died behind the pipes in the bathroom too as the smell is vile and has been that way since October last year.

“The council came out to have a look and say there’s no rat there which I don’t understand.

“When the pest control officer was here last month she lifted up a slab outside my home to find a nest of at least 30 newborn rats.

“It was horrific.”

The local authority say they sealed a hole in the building last year to prevent the rats from entering and recommended drainage repairs due to concerns rats could be coming from the main sewer.

But the woman says the actions, including the placing of bait, hasn’t solved the problem.

She added: “The invasion came to a head again last month and I had a complete meltdown.

“I’ve been told by my doctors not to go back in that house because of the rats.

“The neighbours on either side of me have also got a rat problem and I’m sandwiched in the middle of them.

“The issue hasn’t been fixed. There’s a serious drain issue and holes which need filling in.”

The woman said the council has offered her accommodation which she says isn’t suitable and is calling on chiefs to find a new home for her in Old Kilpatrick.

The woman has also been in contact with Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie, who says more needs to be done.

She said: “The situation at this property is completely unacceptable and, given her health conditions, it must be extremely distressing for her.

“There are many areas locally where residents are reporting being overrun with rats.

“It is essential that action is taken, but the council should never allow its properties to reach such a state where rats are able to enter homes.”

Officers most recently attended at the woman’s home on September 6 and say they found no evidence of rats.

However, they recommended a small area of wooden decking in the back court area is removed as it has the potential to provide harbourage for rats, and secure bait was put down in this area as a precaution.

A spokesperson for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “We are aware of this tenant’s concerns and are sorry to hear she is unhappy with the service she has received.

“We sympathise with her situation and are continuing to support her by prioritising work to identify alternative accommodation which meets her specific requirements.”

For more local news, click here