Over 60 rats caught in Crossgar home over four years
A County Down father-of-four has appealed for help after catching more than 60 rats in his home over the past four years.
Sé McKendry said his Crossgar house has been overrun by rodents, some he described as "giant rats".
He added that the Housing Executive, who own the house, have not been able to figure out how the rats are getting in.
The Housing Executive said they are working to resolve the problem.
Mr McKendry said: "We just want this sorted. We can hear the rats scuttling about all the time. Some of them are huge.
"It's horrible. My wife wants to move, but this is a nice house and we're settled here."
He said that while some of the rats are small, others are "as big as cats".
He added that he had counted 59 caught rats since 2010.
But he said the actual figure is higher as he did not start counting them until six months after the infestation started.
The County Down family's rat infestation was first reported in the Down Recorder on Wednesday. But the problems first started four years ago.
Mr McKendry said: "My wife called when I was at work and said she could hear noises in the loft.
"I went up to check it out. I expected to see a bird or maybe mice, but then a rat ran across the floor.
"As the years have gone on, it's gotten worse and the rats have gotten far louder.
"At the start, they would only make noise if they thought we were not in the house. But now you can hear them all the time."
He added: "The Housing Executive took the insulation out of the house as the rats use it as a nesting material.
"But because there is no insulation, the noise of them running around inside the walls is even louder."
The Crossgar man said he had tried everything to get rid of them, but nothing had worked.
"I used poison but they would die in between the walls and then the smell was horrendous. I once had to smash through the bathroom wall to get rid of two dead rats.
"Now I just use live traps. We catch them all the time. Once I caught three in one trap."
Mr McKendry said his children had become accustomed to the rodents, particularly his four-year-old son.
"Recently he saw me taking out a trap and said, 'please don't kill them, they're my friends'. He doesn't understand and thinks they're just cute animals."
Mr McKendry said none of his neighbours are affected by rats and that authorities have been unable to find out how they are entering the house.
He said: "The Housing Executive sent someone out to inspect the house but he could find no evidence of entry points in the loft or anywhere else.
"He recommended that cameras are installed so we can see where they are coming from.
"However, I think they're coming in through a sewer pipe. The house had an extension built about 20 years ago and I think it might have been built over a broken pipe.
"I've been talking to the Housing Executive constantly about this problem. I just want someone who is an expert to come out and figure this out."
The Housing Executive said efforts to get rid of the rats are ongoing.
A spokesperson said: "Following a report from the tenant of this property in January, we raised an order for our contractor to carry out treatment to deal with the infestation.
"This work was completed. Another order has been issued to carry out further treatment.
"In addition, we have arranged a meeting at the tenant's home on Monday along with the contractor and a representative from environmental health to try and resolve this problem."