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'They were completely domesticated' - residents tell of neighbour's shocking rat infestation

PUBLISHED: 15:14 16 January 2019

Residents in Worlingham have told of their neighbour's shocking rat infestation. Picture: Thomas Chapman

Residents in Worlingham have told of their neighbour's shocking rat infestation. Picture: Thomas Chapman

Archant

Neighbours have claimed rats were 'kept like pets' at a woman's home, despite a council telling her to stop giving them food and water.

Residents in Worlingham have told of their neighbour's shocking rat infestation. Picture: Thomas ChapmanResidents in Worlingham have told of their neighbour's shocking rat infestation. Picture: Thomas Chapman

Anne Morris, of Sheridan Walk in Worlingham, was yesterday found guilty of failing to abate a significant infestation of rats at her home between July 23 and September 13, 2018.

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

Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court was told Ms Morris, in her 80s, was first served an abatement notice in September 2012, requiring her to deal with the infestation within seven days by making arrangements with pest control.

But in July last year, a neighbour complained to Waveney District Council that the rats had infested his garden, prompting concerns about his grandchildren’s safety.

Residents in Worlingham have told of their neighbour's shocking rat infestation. Charles Cook, 88, who lives on Sheridan Walk. Picture: Thomas ChapmanResidents in Worlingham have told of their neighbour's shocking rat infestation. Charles Cook, 88, who lives on Sheridan Walk. Picture: Thomas Chapman

Charlie Cook, one of Ms Morris’ next-door neighbours on Sheridan Walk, said the saga had been never-ending.

“The infestation has been a problem for years,” said Mr Cook, 88.

“To begin with, officers from the council would inspect the house and kept telling me they couldn’t find any vermin whatsoever, but I’d seen it with my own two eyes.

“One day a lady come to check the electricity meters. When she came to my house, she said ‘I’ve just been next door – something needs to be done about those rats!’

A rat running across grass. Picture by: Sonya DuncanA rat running across grass. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

“They were all over the place and being kept like pets. There was a rug in there for them, food, water – they were completely domesticated.”

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

The council then sent a letter asking her to stop putting food and water out for the rats, but an inspection on August 16 found the premises were still infested and bowls of food and water recently replenished.

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

Derek Horton, who lives on nearby Broadland Close, added: “The problem is that the rats were tame. When pest control came to clear up, the rats didn’t even run away. They were like pets!

“You would not have believed what came out of that garage when it was finally cleared out. It took a pest control company over a week to clear it.”

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

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