A Farnworth resident lives in fear of going in her garden after ‘super rats’ took over and made it their home.

Angela Hardman, 48, has lived on the New Bury estate for 28 years and says that she has never experienced anything like this before.

She says that she constantly hears rats and at times hears them 'screaming'.

When she goes outside, she can also smell ‘rat urine’ and is fearful that that they could make their way inside her home.

This has meant that she has been unable to let her dog Tilly-Ann go in the garden, as well as her grandchildren.

The Bolton News:

Bolton Council have baited George Street and the surrounding area this week.

She said: “Everyone in the area has got rat holes, and they have dug through next door’s and into my garden, and into a neighbour’s kitchen’s.

“There are rat droppings all over my back garden, and my grandchildren say why can’t we play in the back garden?

“It’s my human rights being affected at the end of the day, but I am expected to pay.”

Angela says she has put rat traps down and cleaned inside her house with bleach to make sure she is not bringing anything into her house, although she is still recovering after being tested for breast cancer and unable to work.

She is at the stage now where she does not know what to do and says she cannot afford to pay for pest control, which she says would be costly given the scale of the problem.

The Bolton News: Angela added: “I nearly lost my dog four weeks ago she nearly died after getting a major infection, and the vets said that the rats are probably the main cause of the infection.

“She is only just recovering.

“When you have not got that money, and are on Universal Credit, and have to pay a vet bill, it’s hard.

“But it’s not just about the money, what are they going to do with the scale of it?

“Even if you put rat poison down, there are that many that they will just keep coming back and build rat holes.

“I feel disgusting, and it makes me feel dirty, and I don’t like having to see them every day.”

Angela is also concerned that she may contract Weil's disease due to rat urine in her garden.

The Bolton News previously reported on the issue on the estate, which has affected a number of residents for a few months.

The Bolton News: Tilly-Ann, Angela's dogTilly-Ann, Angela's dog (Image: Public)Farnworth North councillor Cllr Sue Haworth, Executive Member for Regulatory Service, says that she noticed the issue with rats and mice “getting substantially worse” in in 2021.

She says that the council are bringing in a free service for rats and mice for residents and are in dialogue with Bolton at Home to complete the change.

Cllr Haworth said: “Really sorry to hear the plight of Angela and family in New Bury who are struggling with rats.

“Since 2021 it is clear things have been getting substantially worse regarding rats and mice. “Paying for a pest service has got harder for many families and individuals due to the cost-of-living crisis.

“Due to a multitude of factors; two years of lockdowns, fly tipping, and littering, too often including edible grot, the rat population is more visible and more complained about in the borough.

The Bolton News: Some damage caused to her bins outsideSome damage caused to her bins outside (Image: Public)“Despite a chorus of complaints about Bolton getting dirtier before, the conservatives took power at the council in May 2019, and in Jan 2021 the conservative deputy leader introduced charges for the rats and mice household council service in the borough, that had been a free service before.

“By October 2021 as Labour’s health spokesperson and ward councillor for Harper Green, I was hitting back at that decision due to the turmoil and anxiety residents were having with rats in a few parts of Harper Green.

“The Labour administration at the council is bringing in a free service for rats and mice for residents.

“We are in dialogue with Bolton at Home as we complete the change - they have thousands of homes in the borough, and numbers of their tenants are struggling with rats and mice.

“The council will be relentless at action against those in the borough who bring filth and grot to neighbourhoods.

“Residents and landlords will have to follow advice and clean homes inside and out and block pest access points where they are advised to.” 

A spokesperson for Bolton Council said: “In areas with persistent rat problems, the council will take action including clearing dumped waste on public land and working with United Utilities to bait sewers.
“While this appears to be a result of an isolated incident, we will monitor the situation in the area.
“Similar to other local authorities, the council does charge homeowners a fee for pest control services and charges are in line with those in the private sector.”

A spokesperson for Bolton at Home said: “We realise this is a difficult and distressing situation for our tenant and other residents in this area.

“We are in touch with the pest control team at the council who have visited the area in recent days to carry out baiting in accessible sewer chambers and drainage systems.

“Where there are rodent infestations affecting individual properties, tenants are advised to make use of the pest control service provided by the council.

“We will continue to work with the council to see what additional support we may be able to provide to individual tenants to address rodent infestations.”

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