National newspaper reports about a plague of giant rats invading Chester appear to be a tale too far but residents insist there is a vermin problem.
The Daily Mirror claimed giant rodents were ‘running riot’ in the leafy suburb of Boughton with one householder talking about introducing feral cats to keep down their numbers.
There was even a story about a terrier being mauled by a vicious rat in a back garden in Newtown, with other sightings of the huge creatures causing increasing alarm.
Boughton residents have reported rat sightings leading Cheshire West and Chester Council to investigate but a survey of sewers in the area revealed them to be ‘clear’.
Fed-up resident William Nield is now petitioning CWaC to release dozens of feral cats into the area – to hunt down and kill the so-called super-rats.
He claims fly-tipping, as well as the fact that locals are not entitled to wheelie-bins, have only exacerbated the problem.
Mr Nield says an area of railway embankment where the rats were nesting had been excavated ‘making the situation 20 times worse’.
He said: “The only way we are going to get something done is to do it ourselves with the introduction of wild, feral cats. The rat numbers might dwindle at last and all our problems might then be solved.”
Councillor Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment, at CWaC said: “The council has received no reports of domestic vermin infestation from rats for Boughton’s Cross Street, Edge Grove or Station View in the last six months.
“The sewers in Cross Street were surveyed in early 2016 following complaints regarding the sighting of rats in the area. The sewers were clear, not defective and functioning properly. The council baited the sewers as a precaution and no reports have been received since.
“The council will advise Network Rail of the suggestion that there may be rats on its land and will investigate this new report, although we have to stress that we cannot bait on open land in the area.
“The area is well used by local dog walkers, there are a lot of domestic pets in the area and there would also be a threat to wildlife if we did bait in an unrestricted area."