Loss of rat catcher ‘short sighted’

Joseph Bulmer

A RAT in her kitchen cupboard has led a Bideford pensioner to question the ending of the local authority vermin control service.

Jenny Jordan of the sheltered housing development at Chubb Road, East-the-Water, said hearing the rodent scratching about in her kitchen was horrendous and she was still worried about it.

“Everything in the cupboard was up side down. It left teeth marks in five bars of soap and also ate a paint brush,” she said.

Mrs Jordan said she had contacted the council and her landlord Tarka Housing, only to be told neither had a pest control officer.

“I was told I must find someone and pay them myself. They did give me four telephone numbers, but they could not name or recommend anyone.”

She had telephoned one, who was very good, she said.

“He put down some bait and some of it has been taken. He is coming back again to check. But I had to pay �80 and that is a big hole in my pension. I’m afraid it might happen again. It is not only me, my neighbours are also pensioners,” she said.

Mrs Jordan’s step-grandson James Lowe said: “I thought it was a basic service that councils should supply and it’s a scandal that they don’t. It seems incredibly short-sighted and with cuts to waste disposal and collection services it’s only going to get worse.”

Ray Webster, Head of Environmental Protection at Torridge District Council, said: “In November 2010 the council’s Pest Control Officer left the authority and the decision was taken not to recruit to this post as this function is not statutory and does not have to be delivered by the council. We understand that members of the public do sometimes require information regarding pests and officers in environmental protection are still on hand to offer advice.”

Andrew McMurray, sheltered housing officer at Tarka Housing, said he was very sorry to hear of Mrs Jordan’s plight with vermin in the property. But this was not part of the remit of Tarka and she had been referred to the council for advice. He wished her well and hoped the problem was now resolved.