I NO longer take much interest in what happens in Yorkshire. I used to, but that was during a time when I was close to Bombardier Jim Perry, one of its proudest and most fiercely-loyal sons, with whom I shared a year of my National Service.

Jim, for whom the War of the Roses was ongoing, regularly assured me that the only good thing to come out of Lancashire was the main route into his county. So bigoted was my old mate that whenever he and his wife visited us, he brought his own loose tea leaves (he refused to use tea bags) and Yorkshire water. Sadly, Jim passed away last year and therefore I have been denied the opportunity to pull his leg about the pack of rats, two to three hundred strong, which recently invaded the Yorkshire village of Flamborough.

Come to think of it, although Jim would have seen the funny side, there isn’t much to laugh about. These are worrying times, as the UK’s rat population is at an all-time high and infestations, such as that in Flamborough, are on the increase. Statistics indicate that humans are never more than 20 feet from a rodent, which isn’t something you dwell on when you are ready for bed. Like most people, my wife and I have an inbuilt dread of rats and trust that Boris, our miniature schnauzer, shows as much aggression to any unwanted fury visitors as he does to humans; friends, family or otherwise.

It is impossible to assess the number of rats in Britain. One estimate puts the figure at 81 million, which means there are a lot more of them than us. They are public enemy number one, helping to spread life-threatening diseases, going back to the bubonic plague, which wiped out 75 million people worldwide. They are rapacious breeders. Each female can produce eight young, every three to four weeks, and they breed all year round. The offspring can produce their own litters from three months. With the best will in the world, Homo Sapiens can’t possibly match that!

According to the National Pest Technicians Association, ratcatchers to you and me, rodents have become skilled at avoiding traps and poisoned bait, which makes them difficult to kill. John Davison, chief executive of the NPTA, says: “They are highly intelligent, very astute; that is why they survive. When we are all dead and gone, there will always be rats about. They will find a way to keep going.”

One certain reason why they will keep going, particularly in our town, is the proliferation of fast food takeaways. I have nothing against such establishments in principle, but when the human factor kicks in, we are left with discarded food littering the streets, photographic evidence of which featured in this publication on Tuesday. It was slung away by morons who couldn’t be bothered to bin it.

Maybe if they experienced something like the horror which descended upon Flamborough, they would behave more responsibly. Somehow, I doubt even that would have an effect. A baton wielded by a Singaporean policeman would, but we live in Bolton, not Singapore, more’s the pity.