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Seaside rats kept on the run

PUBLISHED: 17:34 12 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:31 03 March 2010

IF you spot a rat - call the council! That's the advice today from environmental health officials, who have set up a Rat Hotline for residents and visitors using Felixstowe's beaches.

IF you spot a rat – call the council!

That's the advice today from environmental health officials, who have set up a Rat Hotline for residents and visitors using Felixstowe's beaches.

They want anyone coming across a rat in the beach hut sites, in the seafront gardens or on the beaches to contact them at once.

The initiative follows a spate of complaints about the rodents. Council officials have visited all areas of reported sightings and put down poisoned bait – but now they are stepping up their efforts to eradicate the creatures.

"Our staff have been tackling the problem, but we need residents, and beach hut owners in particular, to join up with us as we need their help to be successful," said Chris Slemmings, chairman of Suffolk Coastal's housing and environment committee.

"If anyone spots a rat, we want them to call our environmental health team on 01394 444353 and tell us where it was.

"Rats are inevitably attracted to where there is food, and I would ask all beach hut owners to please take their food scraps home wit them and also not to store any food in their huts.

"This will take away one potential source of food for the rats and make it more likely that they will eat the bait that has been laid down for them.

"It is not just beach hut owners who have a role to play. Visitors and residents can do their bit by properly disposing of any left-over take-away food.

"By all of us – the council, beach hut owners, and the general public – working together, this problem with rats should only be a temporary one."

Letters have been sent to all 1,100 hut owners to ask for their help and inform them of what the council is doing to tackle the vermin.

Families have reported several instances where the rats have suddenly appeared around beach huts, in the gardens, and even in the middle of terrified sunbathers, picknickers and paddlers on the beaches!

Hut owners have called on the council to invest more in litter clean up teams to ensure the areas around the chalet sites are kept as clean as possible. The council does provide bins and these are emptied daily.

Rats have been spotted in the evenings in the gardens near the bottom of Bath Hill – between the Long Shelter and the back of the Spa Pavilion theatre – where there is ample cover for them to live, and also at The Dip and Brackenbury.

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