Rat sightings prompt call for urgent action

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People living in the Sourhill Road area of Ballymena say they have witnessed a major upsurge in the rodent population in recent months - and now a major operation to control the pests is under way.

Rats have been encroaching closer and closer to housing areas on the leafy suburban road.

Residents say they are fearful that if strong measures are not taken to reduce the rat population, they will be ‘over-run’ by summer time.

To highlight what they have termed a ‘rat plague’, locals have established a facebook site which contains video of rats along the road and comments from witnesses.

As a result of complaints, the issue has now been raised by with the Environmental Health Department of Ballymena Borough Council by Cllr. Timothy Gaston who said he had have requested that the land owner install bait boxes as a priority adjacent to the properties on the Sourhill Road to stop the rats crossing the road.

Assemblyman, Paul Frew said he had been in contact with local landowners, including Galgorm Golf Club.

Mr. Frew said: “They have been working on this issue as past number of days. The Golf Club have cleared away areas of bushes and have employed pest control to lay down bait. Similar action has been taken by authorities at County Hall. Of course, this will take a number of days to work.

“They (the rats) seem to be nesting in the County Hall grounds then feeding in the woods and along the road side. They are eating nuts falling off the trees which line the road.

“If the bait does not work the owners will then try and lift all the nuts off the ground and strip the trees. Please be vigilant and keep your doors shut.”