Rats 'nearly as big as cats' plaguing Potters Bar park

PUBLISHED: 09:40 21 October 2016 | UPDATED: 09:40 21 October 2016

One of the rats in Oakmere Park

One of the rats in Oakmere Park

Archant

An "infestation" of "massive" rats plaguing a Potters Bar park is making the area look filthy, according to residents.

Numerous park-lovers bemoaned the beady-eyed vermin scurrying around Oakmere Park, with many claiming the number of the disease-ridden animals has increased in recent weeks.

Park Avenue resident Tony Nation told the Potters Bar Edition the “disgusting” problem is linked to fly-tipping and littering – problems he feels the borough council is not combating effectively.

“It is full of rats over here,” said the 52-year-old. “I come with my dog every day and I worry about them.

“It is an infestation, and the council won’t do anything about it.

“I can’t even let the dog in my garden because there are so many rats.”

Mother-of-two Magda, right, of Chace Avenue, said: “It is not safe because they are not always running away.

“Last time I have to say that I was throwing stones at them because my daughter wanted to feed the ducks, but there was a rat and it didn’t look scared.”

The rodents can carry several diseases that can be transmitted through bites and scratches.

Rat urine is also responsible for the spread of leptospirosis, which can result in liver and kidney damage.

Rosemary Taylor, 64, told the Potters Bar Edition: “It is not pleasant.

“I know they can’t help what they are but it is a worry with the amount of children that play in that park.”

Jay Synnott, left, of Tempest Avenue, claimed he saw one “nearly as big as a cat”, but added he was unfazed by the increase, provided they did not scutter into his house.

Bob Boyd, right, 56, said: “I know there’s been a lot of people saying they are all running about.

“They are big ones, six inches plus the tail.

“They say you are only five feet away from a rat anyway, but it could be the fishermen leaving stuff here so that’s attracting them.”

Iain and Maria Salt, right, who recently moved to Potters Bar, said: “The rats are massive, they run across you all the time and the dogs chase them.

“It makes the area look dirty.”

A Hertsmere Council spokeswoman said following about 20 calls in two months, a pest control officer and the parks team assessed the problem, “which is on the increase”.

She continued: “We need to be very cautious about using toxic bait in public areas, so are looking at other tactics for resolving this issue.

“The problem is made worse by people feeding the geese, ducks and squirrels at the park.

“The food debris and nut shells left lying around do attract vermin.

“We’ll be putting up signs at the park in the very near future discouraging the feeding of birds.”

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