‘I can’t afford £80 to get rid of rat plague … no one here can’

Janet Robertson whose beautiful garden is sometimes invaded by rats.
Janet Robinson
Janet Robinson whose beautiful garden is sometimes invaded by rats.

A FINCHAMPSTEAD great-grandmother said that her estate is being plagued by rats running free and that the council are refusing to help.

Janet Robertson, who lives in Whittle Close, contacted The Wokingham Paper in desperation saying that she was afraid to let her grandchildren play in the garden in case they picked up disease from the rats.

“There’s no rubbish in my garden, there’s no reason why the rats should be in here,” she explained. “They are vermin.

“They are horrible and I don’t want them in my garden. They are breeding more and more.

“My great-grandson is just a year old, he can’t play in our garden.”

Janet Robinson whose beautiful garden is sometimes invaded by rats. Janet has had to block off any gaps where the rats might come into the garden.

Mrs Robertson said that she had attempted to block the holes in her fence to stop the rats from getting in, but despite this, the rats were still running riot among her flowers.

“I hear them at 4am in the morning, wandering around the garden. You just can’t catch them.”

And she said that she was also concerned at rats in other parts of the Gorse Ride Estate, particularly in the communal areas such as footpaths, where other children will be playing.

“I’m sure that a lot of people [round here] has the same problem,” she said.

But on contacting the council in getting rid of the rats, not just in her home but across the estate, she said she was fobbed off.

Janet Robinson whose beautiful garden is sometimes invaded by rats.

“They just told me it wasn’t their problem, but it is. It’s a council estate. If they don’t get rid of the rats, they’ll just keep coming back.

“A dead rat was left in an alleyway, we shouldn’t have to see that. Children are scared going home from school.

“If I had babies around here, I’d be worried, I wouldn’t let them play in the back gardens as the rats are full of germs.”

And Mrs Robertson said that the council’s advice that it was up to Mrs Robertson to call in the pest controllers met with short shrift.

“I can’t afford to pay £80. No one around here can afford to pay anything like that,” she explained. “Besides, I’d need at least two visits.”  

The Public Protection Partnership (PPP) is a shared service provided by Wokingham Borough Council, Bracknell Forest Council and West Berkshire Council, delivering Environmental Health, Licensing and Trading Standards.

The PPP told The Wokingham Paper that would prefer not to comment on individual cases but Cllr Iain McCracken, Chairman of the Joint Public Protection Committee, has the following advice: “The PPP does not carry out pest control treatment work for rats.

“This responsibility rests with the occupier of land but we appreciate that some cases originate in land adjoining property and could be outside the occupier’s power to control, and as such requires a co-ordinated approach, working with your neighbours.

“Our advice to anyone using pest control contractors is to ensure any contractors are members of a recognised trade organisation, such as the British Pest Control Association.

“Anyone considering a contractor should obtain more than one quote. We don’t recommend self-baiting as this can encourage resistance to poisons in the rat population. Officers from the PPP work closely with colleagues in Tenant Services and the wider community to protect public health concerns should complaints of rats arise on Council-owned properties.

“Tenant Services managers have discretion to assist vulnerable tenants as required.”

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