Rats make life misery for rural residents
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
RESIDENTS of a rural dale settlement have been told it’s up to them to keep an invasion of rats at bay.
Those living at Hardings Bungalows, along Hardings Lane, Hunderthwaite, first cried foul about being overrun by vermin in May.
They say they have had little joy from Durham County Council after officers came out to inspect the area and the problem shows no signs of abating.
While residents believe a nearby pig farm could be a possible source of the problem, officers say there are effective pest control measures in place and there are other farms and gardens in the area that could be a potential magnet for the infestation.
Keith Tiplady, who has lived in the area for about 30 years, said officers advised him to do his own pest control.
He said there are so many rats that they had eaten their way through almost 5kg of poison in the space of two weeks.
In a written response to complaints from Mr Tiplady’s son, Nick, an environmental health officer said there were several potential sources for the rat problem.
“There are other sources outside the pig farm where rats could emanate; such as another farm, streams, etc,” Nick Tiplady was told.
“There was also concern raised as to a neighbouring property where the back garden is full of junk and old cat food.”
In another letter he was told to take “suitable measures to protect your property from any potential infestation”.
Paul Wallington, who has lived at Hardings Bungalows for the past 26 years, said along with vermin, residents had to contend with smells he claimed emanated from the nearby farm.
He said: “We can’t put the washing out – it comes out stinking of pig.”
In response the complaints officer said: “In terms of odour, this also remains an on-going part of their investigation, however, the officers have not encountered enough of an odour to identify a statutory nuisance at this point.”
Michael Yeadon, Durham County Council’s environment and health protection manager, said: “We are aware of the situation but as investigations are still ongoing it would not be appropriate for us to comment further.”
The Mercury approached the operator of the piggery but was told he was unavailable for comment.