A RODENT is spotted in Sunderland every other hour.
Pest control officers in the city are dealing with 15 reports of rats and mice every day.
According to figures obtained by the Echo, vermin are most common in Hendon, which tops the list with 821 sightings in the past two years.
Hetton comes in second place with 792 reports, closely followed by Pallion with 714 sightings between 2011 and 2013.
Six years ago, there were 10 reports a day, but this only applied to complaints about rats.
This is the second year in a row Hendon has topped the list for rat sightings and residents say they are concerned about the growing problem.
Tracey Tull, a mum of two from Hendon, had a problem with mice in her home last winter.
The 44-year-old said: “They must have been coming in through the back yard, into the utility room and then through into the kitchen.
“We didn’t notice anything for a little while, but then their droppings started to appear on the floor.
“It made me sick to the stomach to think they had been in our kitchen every night, eating the kids’ cereal.
“We started off getting humane traps for them, but we caught so many that, in the end, we just used normal traps to kill them. I think we caught 10 in total.
“I don’t know why Hendon seems to have such a problem but surely something should be done about it if it’s happening year after year.”
It is believed there are a higher number of reports of rodents in the Sunderland area because the council provides a free service to remove them, unlike many other local authorities which charge up to £50 per visit.
Councillor James Blackburn, who is in charge of city services at Sunderland City Council, said: “We provide a free pest control service for the treatment of rodents if there is a risk to public health.
“The council also carries out proactive treatments.
“Many factors such as weather conditions, from cold snaps or rain, can influence the number of pest control incidents.
“We continue to actively encourage people to contact us if they see a rodent.”
•Anyone who spots a rat is asked to contact pest control on 520 5550.
Rat and mice sightings
1 Hendon 821
2 Hetton 792
3 Pallion 714
4 St Anne’s 602
5 Sandhill 595
6 Southwick 565
7 Shiney Row 560
8 Millfield 543
9 Ryhope 523
10 Houghton 513
11 Doxford 479
12 Silksworth 463
13 Castle 446
14 Copt Hill 443
15 St Peter’s 396
16 Barnes 393
17 Redhill 344
18 Fulwell 334
19 St Chad’s 334
20 Washington 294
21 St Michael’s 245
22 Washington Central 198
23 Washington West 170
24 Unassigned ward 117
25 Washington South 85