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Belfast family forced to flee home after catching 19 rats in 24 hours

The Independent The Independent 28/09/2016 Alexandra Sims

© Provided by Independent Print Limited A family have been forced to move out of their home after catching 19 rats over 24 hours.

Michael and Paula McCann and their two young children are currently staying with friends after they found their terrace house overrun with "big, grey" rodents when they returned from a family holiday.

The couple said rat faeces littered the floor of the property in Rutland Street, off Belfast’s Ormeau Road and the wires of electrical appliances. including their washing machine, microwave and kettle, had been eaten through.

The couple believe the rats invaded the house as they had left their cat in a cattery while they were away.

“I caught eight rats in the first 12 hours of having traps down, then another four, and over 24 hours I’d caught a total of 19,” Mr McCann told Belfast Live.

“They were big, grey rats. The look of them was disgusting and to think they were in our home, near our children was awful."

rutland-street-belfast.jpg © Provided by Independent Print Limited rutland-street-belfast.jpg

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive, which owns the property, is currently looking for alternative accommodation for the family.

Pest control workers from Belfast City Council are trying to tackle the infestation.

“It’s hard to believe that in 2016 housing in Belfast could be infested with rats,” said Mr McCann.

“Whatever has done it, we’ve been made homeless by a plague of rats. All we can do now is wait for the Housing Executive to help us find a new home and thankfully they seem to understand.”

A Housing Executive spokesman said: "We are aware of the issues at this property and are working closely with the family.

"Temporary accommodation was offered to the family but they opted to make their own temporary arrangements.

"We first received a report of rats in the dwelling two weeks ago when an environmental health team was engaged and we carried out repairs to the property based on their report.

"After a follow-up inspection by pest controllers yesterday, we were told rats had returned to the property.

"We received another inspection report yesterday and more work will be carried out by the Housing Executive on the property immediately.

"Our staff also met with the family again yesterday to discuss housing options, which will include a possible permanent move away from this property."

A Belfast City Council spokesman said: "Our environmental health officers and pest control team are aware of the ongoing rat problem at the property on Rutland Street.

"We are working closely with the Housing Executive to resolve the issue to ensure that the property is made habitable again."

Earlier this year, a huge rat said to measure around 4ft was found by workmen near a London playground.

Gas engineer Tony Smith described the rodent, which was dead when he found it, as the “largest I’ve ever seen in my entire life”. He said the estate where he was working had an infestation of rats, and poison was left around to catch them.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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