RESIDENTS have raised concerns over an increase in rats with some being described as ‘enormous’.

People in Westhoughton are reporting seeing the rodents running through their gardens in recent months.

Kate Charlton, who lives on Cherwell Road, said: “We’ve lived here for 16 years and we’ve never had a problem with rats before, but over the past month or so we’ve seen several running through our garden.

“We’ve been putting traps down - using peanut butter has been the most effective - and in one 24 hour period we caught four rats.

“One rat we caught was absolutely enormous.

“One of our dogs is always sniffing around the garden now, and of course for every rat you do see there’s probably dozens more in the area. It’s really horrible and unpleasant.

“We reckon it’s been worse during the pandemic as people have been having more takeaways so there’s more rubbish about, nearby building work hasn’t helped either as it disturbs them.”

Lyn Duckworth, who lives in Church Lane, Wingates, has also noticed an increase of rats in that area in recent months.

She added: “I’ve never seen them in my garden before but pest control confirmed there were rats there.

“It’s not nice as it puts you off sitting in the garden, even during the hot weather earlier this summer I didn’t feel happy being outside once the sun had gone down.

“I don’t feel happy letting my dogs outside unsupervised either as they could get bitten.”

Cllr Andrea Finney said: “I visited the area after being contacted by Ms Charlton and I’m aware other people have been seeing rats, there seems to be an infestation in the area.

“She had sent me some pictures and I have reported it to environmental services.

“I urge residents to make sure that their bin lids are closed and that waste is disposed of correctly, especially food waste. Also maintain good hygiene around the home, especially near any bins.

“People are using rats traps and poison but please be mindful of pets and children, safety should be the number one priority. Be careful with things like bird feed too, try to hang things up in trees where rats can’t reach them.”