Woman fed rats after council told her to stop, court hears

PUBLISHED: 14:47 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:59 15 January 2019

A rat. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

A rat. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

A woman in her 80s fed rats at her home and sparked an infestation, even after a council had told her to stop, a court has heard.

Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court, where a Beccles woman has been found guilty of failing to clear her home of a rat infestation. Google MapsGreat Yarmouth Magistrates Court, where a Beccles woman has been found guilty of failing to clear her home of a rat infestation. Google Maps

Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court was told on Tuesday (January 15) that the woman’s neighbour in Worlingham, a village outside Beccles in Suffolk, had complained to Waveney District Council that the rats had infested his garden, where his grandchildren played.

Anne Morris, of Sheridan Walk in Worlingham, was found guilty of failing to abate a significant infestation of rats at her home between July 23 and September 13 last year.

She was also found guilty of failing to stop the recurrence of the infestation.

Ms Morris was ordered by the court to pay a fine and costs, totalling £1,385.

Kerryn Woollett, prosecuting on behalf of Waveney District Council, told the court that Ms Morris was first served an abatement notice in September 2012. An abatement notice can be served by a council on people responsible for statutory nuisances.

It had required Ms Morris to deal with the infestation within seven days, by making arrangements with pest control for the clearing of the rats, the court was told.

The court heard that the council cleared the rats from the premises - but on July 23 last year, one of Ms Morris’ neighbours made a complaint that he had seen lots of rats in his garden, which concerned him because his grandchildren played there.

Ms Morris was sent a copy of the abatement notice but it was sent back to the council marked “return to sender”, the court was told.

The council then sent her a letter asking her to stop putting food and water out for the rats, Ms Woollett said.

The court heard that on August 16 the premises were inspected but were still infested, with bowls for food and water recently replenished.

There was a very high risk of disease, the court was told, and in September the council put in place a programme for ridding the premises of the rats.

The court heard that an inspection on September 20 showed the rats were eating some of the bait, but as the feeders and water bowls continued to be topped up, the premises had not been entirely cleared.

Ms Woollett said that four days later the feeders and bowls had been topped up again and the rats were still feeding.

The infestation has since been cleared, the court heard.

Chairwoman of the magistrates, Jane Bowles, fined Ms Morris £350 for each of the two offences and ordered her to pay a £35 victim surcharge, as well as costs to the council of £650.

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