A disabled woman claims rats have made her a prisoner in her own home.
Carol Joesbury, who has respiratory problems, says the rodents are running wild around her flat in Hadleigh Court, Shiney Row.
I am on oxygen and the only place I can go is the patio at the back but I am terrified to come out. They are there all the time; morning, noon and night.Carol Joesbury
She believes they are breeding in trees close to her home.
“We have had rats running around for over a year. They are not afraid of anybody,” she said.
Carol has breathing difficulties and cannot leave her flat, but says she is unable even to go into the garden because of the infestation.
“I am on oxygen and the only place I can go is the patio at the back, but I am terrified to come out,” she said.
“They are there all the time; morning, noon and night.
“We have got trees in the middle of the court and they are running in and out of the trees.
“They are nesting in there. We know where at least two of the nests are.”
Carol, 58, believes cutting back the trees would go a long way to eradicating the problem, but housing association Two Castles had failed to carry out the work.
“The trees need to be cut back - they are dying,” she said.
“But when the maintenance men came, they said they were only there to cut the grass and not the trees,” she said.
Rob Brittain, property services director for Two Castles Housing Association, said the group took all reports of pest infestations seriously.
“We were originally notified of the potential issue by residents around June 8,” he said.
“An officer investigated, but could not find any evidence of rats; however, a number of bird feeders were removed from the garden as a precaution.
“Following this additional enquiry, we have arranged for Sunderland City Council environmental health to attend and investigate as a matter of urgency.
“Our officer will also be in touch with the resident to follow up on their concerns.
“We take these matters very seriously and would always encourage residents to contact their Scheme Manager or Housing Officer with any concerns.”