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Rats on the run from resort after poisoning succeeds

PUBLISHED: 07:30 20 September 2018

One of the rats spotted near the seafront in Felixstowe Picture: WILLIAM DREHER

One of the rats spotted near the seafront in Felixstowe Picture: WILLIAM DREHER

WILLIAM DREHER

A resort's rat infestation is at last in decline - after the rodents started taking the bait.

The seafront has suffered a rat problem this summer due to the number of visitors it has attracted in the hot weather Picture: JANICE POULSONThe seafront has suffered a rat problem this summer due to the number of visitors it has attracted in the hot weather Picture: JANICE POULSON

But tourism chiefs say they are not complacent and will be working hard to ensure the problem does not return to Felixstowe next summer.

A large number of the rats have been poisoned and council chiefs say there has been an increase in litter collection and disposal, with the bins being emptied more frequently, which has helped remove sources of food for the creatures.

Visitors to the seaside resort have been complaining about the number of rats in the town this summer, which has been blamed on the “booming tourist economy” and people leaving discarded takeaway food on the streets.

The rats have been spotted all along the seafront, but particularly in the south of the resort, hiding under beach huts and in the gardens, some quite brazenly hunting for scraps of food.

Felixstowe Forward change director Helen Greengrass said there had been a “significant increase” in the use of bait boxes along the seafront.

She said: “I understand there has been a dramatic reduction in the sightings, which shows these measures have had an impact.

“We had an unprecedented number of visitors this summer – and rats love fish and chips! I am sure the problem is now reducing.”

The aim was to promote the Respect Our Resort – posters had now been placed around the seafront – and this campaign would be heavily promoted from next spring to try to change behaviour concerning litter. This will be supported by a social media campaign.

Mayor Graham Newman said Steve Green, operations manager for Norse, had been monitoring the situation and twice a day and laying poison on a daily basis. No shooting or gassing was taking place.

He said: “They have reported a significant reduction in vermin activity since the abundance of the rats started.”

He said open-topped litter bins would be removed from Sea Road and vegetation along Sea Road Gardens, where the rats have been nesting, would be cut back later this autumn to help eradicate the rats.

Suffolk Coastal District Council had considered using the poisoned gas pellets to solve the rodent problem – but has reviewed its plans after being advised it was not “practical or safe” and could pose a health risk to people and their pets in the area.

Plastic Free Felixstowe has also been carrying out beach cleans to keep the resort tidy.

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