How to help prevent rats from spreading in Sunderland

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Rats are an unpleasant sight and carry many diseases which can spread to humans.

In 2017, Sunderland was named among the 10 highest places in the country for rat sighting call-outs.

And recent concerns raised about rats in Barnes Park have put the issue back into the headlines.

Councillor Amy Wilson, responsible for Environment and Transport on Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet, has asked for the public's help in preventing rat infestations in Sunderland.

She said: "As has already been stated, our city does not have a significant rat problem.

"The council undertake routine preventative work to suppress the presence of rats across the city and, as also previously mentioned, sightings can be influenced by the weather, such as warm spells or heavy rain.

"Finally, the council would repeat the point that residents can help to keep rodent numbers down by disposing of their litter and waste appropriately."

Here is some advice from the British Pest Control Association on how to prevent rats:

:: Rats only need a gap of 15mm to gain entry to a building, so eliminate places which could harbour rats, including sealing gaps around pipes and under sheds

:: Remove potential nesting sites by keeping yards and gardens clean and tidy, cutting back overgrown areas and clearing any piles of wood and debris

:: Ensure that drain inspection covers are in a good state of repair.

:: Cover any household waste where rats can get access to it, close dustbin lids and cover compost heaps.

:: If you feed garden birds, do not do this to excess and use a bird table or feeder basket if possible.