Neighbours' horror as Sunderland street is overrun with rats after up to 30 are spotted at a time

Neighbours in a Sunderland street are calling for an end to the plague of rats which are overrunning in their gardens and into their homes.

Tuesday, 18th August 2020, 4:45 pm

Donnison Gardens residents say they have seen up to 30 at a time in the East End street and shared photos of the rats walking along clotheslines and crowding on a bird table.

Residents say it has been a long-running issue in the area, which eased after bushes and trees were removed, but has increased again in recent months.

Tenants have been left exasperated and are calling on landlord, Home Group, which they pay an £8 monthly service charge to, to tackle the issue.

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Donnison Gardens residents Paul Reay and Jimmy Smart, right, have been catching rats which are overrun around the area.

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Sunderland City Council said it has discovered faults in the sewers, which could be the cause of the increased numbers, and the authority has now reported the issue to Northumbrian Water.

Retired painter and decorator Paul Reay, 64, has found a rat inside his home before, which was killed by his terriers.

"It's been going on for months now, you can hear them scratching about,” he said.

Donnison Gardens has been overrun with rats, even walking on washing lines in gardens.

"I feel like I want to move. We want something done about it.”

Neighbour Jimmy Smart, 70, added: “They chew through the bins and one of my neighbours opened her bin and six jumped out at her.”

Councillor Michael Mordey, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for environment and transport, said environmental health officers have inspected the area.

Rats have chewed through wheelie bins in Donnison Gardens in the East End of Sunderland.

He said: “Having been made aware of this issue, environmental health officers visited the street and identified a number of faults in the sewer network, these provide a direct route for rodents from the sewer to access the surface and have been determined as the most likely cause of the significant rat activity in the area.”

Steve Heywood, from landlord Home Group, said: "There are a number of other outside factors beyond our control, which makes it difficult.

"We will see what more can be done at our end for sure.

“One of the key factors in alleviating the issue is to stop leaving food out for birds or other animals as this will attract rats and other vermin.”

A photo taken by a resident of Donnison Gardens showing rats on a bird table - people have been urged not to leave food out in case it attracts vermin.

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Donnison Gardens residents Paul Reay and Jimmy Smart have been catching rats in their street.