A family say they have effectively been left homeless due to an infestation of monster rats in their rented home which has forced them to move out.
John Rising, 36, and partner Joanne say they had no choice but to move out of their rented mid-terrace home in St Paul’s, Cheltenham, with their three sons after fearing the giant 2ft rats would bite their children and spread disease.
The family are now temporarily living with John’s father in Woodmancote, near Bishop’s Cleeve, reports Gloucestershire Live .
The dad-of-three says despite pest controllers making recommendations, aimed at resolving the problem on a long-term basis, Cheltenham Borough Homes opted for what he regarded to be a short-term solution.
Instead of digging up two back gardens in the area to find where the rats were coming from, he claims they simply blocked up holes behind cupboards in the kitchen.
John said: “About a month ago, before the rats completely took over the house, my 14-year-old son was in the bathroom and saw one actually in the toilet.
“He called me and I rushed to have a look. I could see the rat’s tail and bum swimming back out of toilet, back up the u-bend.”
John added: “Every day there’s another one caught in a trap. I opened a cupboard the other day and one was staring at me. It was under the sink. It had a sniff and scurried away.”
He is now accusing Cheltenham Borough Homes of “dragging its heels” and feels they should have been offered somewhere else to live until it had been sorted out.
“There has been no offer of alternative accommodation. They just expect us to stay in that house,” he said.
“It’s a health risk. Rats carry so many diseases. I can’t have my children in there.”
John said his family had not wanted to leave the house, because it had been their home for the last four years, but things had been bad enough for them to move out.
“It’s a matter of time before they have the run of the house. It’s awful,” he said.
Paul Stephenson, Cheltenham Borough Homes’ chief executive, said: “We were first made aware of the problem on Tuesday April 9 by a pest controller from Cheltenham Borough Council who visited the property but wasn’t able to put bait down due to a lack of loft access.
“We visited on Thursday April 11 to see how we could arrange access and to organise a CCTV survey of the drains to see where the rats were entering.
“Following this we are removing the kitchen units and blocking off any access holes this Thursday to stop any further access to the property before the pest controller comes back to lay bait in the ceiling cavity. This should help to prevent further issues.”
A spokesperson for Cheltenham Borough Homes said: “The tenant told us that he had already removed his family from the property when we visited on April 11.
“However we have discussed options with him today under our Decant and Emergency Transfer Procedure while the work takes place.”