RESIDENTS in Little Hulton are reluctant to report rats spotted in their gardens because they do not want to pay for pest control, a councillor has told town hall bosses.

Householders in the area say they have seen more rats in the area over recent years.

Deborah Western, who lives in Newcombe Drive, first started noticing rats in her back garden in 2019 with some so big she thought they were hedgehogs.

She reported it to Salford Council, which sent their pest control team out to the property – at a cost of £45 – and she even paid for rat poison and traps herself.

But she says she will not pay for the council’s subsidised service again.

She said: “I refuse to pay the money for the council to come out anymore.

“I don’t want to sound horrible, but I try to keep my garden tidy.

“If they go into people’s gardens which aren’t tidy, what can I do?”

For this reason, Little Hulton councillor Rob Sharpe says some residents do not report rat sightings in their back gardens or their neighbours’ properties.

It comes a year after Salford Council launched an online system to report rat sightings in public places across the city with the aim of gathering intelligence.

But Cllr Sharpe told a scrutiny committee this week there is no option to report rat sightings on private land such as neighbours’ properties.

He said: “We seem to be stuck and it seems to be getting worse.

“The only solution is to encourage residents to report the issues, but residents don’t want to report rats in the garden because they don’t see it as their responsibility to pay for the rat traps. They see it as the council’s role.

“And to some extent, it’s not their fault that they’ve got rats in the garden because other properties have left food and stuff like that out.”

Currently residents can report sightings of rats in public spaces via the council's website – but if they see a rat on private property, they are asked to pay.

Council boss John Wooderson said the purpose of this online reporting system, which launched in May 2020, is for internal data gathering.

He encouraged residents to report rat sightings for this reason.

He said: “The first thing we need to do in those situations is try to understand what is causing it. For rats to be out in public, there’s usually a reason for it.

“If it is rats out in public spaces, we will look at that. We will look at the intelligence and we will try to understand what the cause is.

“But ultimately, it is the case that if you’ve got rats on your property – and that does include your garden, your yard and all the rest of it – from a legal point of view it is the occupant who is responsible for that, not the city council.”

The council officer agreed to look at creating an option on the online system to report rats seen on private land – even if residents are not willing to pay.

Lead practitioner Julie King told the scrutiny committee that environmental health officers have powers to serve notices on landlords and homeowners.

This means if rubbish in gardens is attracting rats, it can be forcibly removed.

She said: “If you’ve got residents who have accumulations of refuse in the garden or food waste, we can look at it from a statutory nuisance point of view.

“So if they are finding issues with their neighbours that are doing that, please let us know and we can have a look and serve notices to rectify those issues.”