A pensioner has called for all tenants to have access to a free pest control service, rather than just homeowners and people who privately rent.

Helen Gernon, 63, who rents a property with Bolton at Home on Aldersyde Street, believes she may have a problem with rats or mice because she can hear something above her loft area.

But she does not think it is fair that she has to pay for the pest control service, while homeowners and private renters do not have to pay.

It comes as the council introduced the free service on April 1.

Helen said: “The only way to find out is to go on the ladders, and I don’t think I would be OK doing this because I am too scared to get near any rats or mice.

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“And it could also be a bird in the roof.

"The price I have been quoted is £189 for a private service.

“If they could rethink this and bring back a more reasonable price, or make it free for everyone, that would be so much better.

“I pay full council tax and I don’t know why I am not entitled to anything, and I am baffled.

“Hardworking people should have the same service.”

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The council has said that anyone living in social housing should report any issues with rats and mice to their housing provider.

The local authority has also urged residents to dispose of their waste correctly and to not leave waste outside in bags.

A council spokesperson said: “Bolton Council now offers a free pest control service to residents who own their own homes, and those living in private rented accommodation.

“The free home service, which came into effect on April 1, covers rats and mice which pose a significant risk to public health.

“If you live in social housing, residents are advised to report any issue with rats and mice to their housing provider.

“To help prevent pest problems we urge all residents to dispose of their waste properly, in closed bins and not to leave waste outside in bags.”

A spokesperson for Bolton at Home said: “We’re exploring ways to make pest control more cost-effective for our tenants and will provide a further update on this when we’re able to do so.”

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