DOZENS of rats have been found abandoned on a platform at Chester Railway Station.

The RSPCA is appealing for information after the 42 rodents were discovered in two sealed boxes on a platform at the station at 12.30am on Thursday, January 8.

The boxes were stacked one on top of the other and one of them had an A4 piece of paper stuck to it with a note reading: “Pet rats in transit, handle with care”.

RSPCA inspector Leanne Hardy said: “We don’t know whether they were left on the platform by mistake or whether they were abandoned but I’m hoping anyone who knows anything about them will get in touch as soon as possible.”

The platforms are searched every hour, which means the boxes must have been left between 11.30pm on Wednesday and 12.30am on Thursday.

Only two trains came through the station during that time, one from Manchester Piccadilly and another from the Merseyside area.

Many of the rats, which are a mixture of juveniles and adults, are described as ‘dumbo-eared’ or ‘elephant-eared’, which means their ears are lower and not as folded as the standard type.

There are two females with babies among them, which are still quite small. Most are white with brown or grey stripes.

Inspector Hardy said: “They are in reasonable body condition but many are suffering from urine scolding, which has caused them to have bald patches, presumably from living in a very small space.

“They’re all very friendly and if we can’t find the owner we’ll be looking for new homes for them.”

The owner, or anyone who thinks they have any information about who they may belong to, should call the 24-hour cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999 and ask to leave a message for RSPCA inspector Hardy.

The rats are currently in the care of RSPCA Warrington, Halton and St Helens Branch Animal Centre.

Staff are inviting anyone who is interested in offering a rat a home to get in touch on 01925 632944 as soon as possible, as space is very limited.