Northern Ireland

Family make plea to Belfast City Council as rats plague their home

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Media captionBBC News NI's David Maxwell reports from the south Belfast home that has become infested with rats

A south Belfast family has been struggling to deal with a plague of rats that has infested their home.

Eighteen rats have been caught and killed recently at their terraced home on Edinburgh Street, off Lisburn Road.

The family, which includes three young children, has said more rats are in and around the property and they need help to deal with problem.

The landlord has hired workmen to track down the rodents but more have appeared.

Traps have been set and poison laid but the rats keep coming.

Eating

The landlord said the tenants "keep the house very well" but the rats were causing serious damage to the property.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The family said it needs help to deal with the rat problem

"They're eating the concrete floor in the kitchen, they're eating through the cavity walls, they disconnected the electricity in the shower," he said.

"It's just a matter of time until the lights go out, we would think."

The property owner has criticised Belfast City Council for being slow in responding to call for help over the problem.

"I've been on to various departments - pest control, environmental health, the Department of the Environment," he said.

"And the best reply that we can get is that these people will come out in about 10 to 14 days.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The owner of the house on Edinburgh Street in south Belfast has criticised the council's response

"We just think that's totally unsatisfactory when there are children in our city and they're having to endure rats running over their bed during the night."

Resigned

He added: "The people of this community have complained in the past but their complaints haven't been listened to.

Image caption The landlord said rats had eaten through cavity walls and a concrete floor in the house

"They have become somewhat resigned to this problem, but it should be taken very seriously."

A council spokesperson confirmed the issue had been reported to them but explained there is a waiting list for its pest control services.

The council said rats are a particular problem at this time of the year.

The family has been told that pest control officers will try to get to the property as soon as possible.

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