RATS have become so prevalent in a March car park that some people are refusing to use it for fear of coming across one of the rodents.
Pest controller Tom Bannister, of March-based ATB Pest Control, has raised the issue with Fenland District Council after coming across the problem while dealing with a wasp nest in the vicinity.
He said: “I have never seen anything like it. There were three or four just running around. People were coming up to me while I was there pointing out the problem. The area appears to be flooded with rats.
“They are sitting under cars and don’t seem to be too frightened of people. You can sit in the car park and watch them all day.”
Mr Bannister, who has performed pest control in the March area for over 30 years, said he raised the issue as a concerned grandfather and pointed out the rodents carry an array of diseases.
“My grandchildren walk across there and play in that area. It is a real worry the rats carry diseases which can be picked up through their urine.
“One woman I spoke to said she had reported the problem in June - that is four months ago. Rats are pregnant for three weeks and have litters of between seven and 14 and they are sexually mature within five weeks.
“The rats have had chance to have three or four litters since the problem was first reported and it is now far worse than it needs to be,” said Mr Bannister.
He added: “Some people were telling me they were looking to park somewhere else to avoid the rats and that is like a take over. If people are afraid to go some where because of the rats then the pests have taken control.”
Linda Baker, who works at Dobson’s in nearby High Street said she had first seen rats running around the car park three months ago when a friend startled one from under her car when she accidentally set the alarm off.
“It just ran out. We just thought ‘oh my God’ - we were stunned. On Thursday lunchtime I went out and there were three or four just sat out the back. They are just so bold and don’t seem to be frightened by people at all,” said Mrs Baker.
A Fenland Council spokesman said: “The council has been informed of an increased number of rat sightings on the open land by City Road Car Park. Sightings often increase at the start of the colder seasons as food sources become scarce. “The council is working with our pest control contractors, who regularly survey the area, and since the sightings have increased treatment levels around the car park and open spaces.
“We are also working with and supporting nearby businesses and land owners ensuring they have a regular waste collection service and also undertake treatment and pest prevention measures on their land.
“The council’s Street Scene Officers are regularly visiting the area to monitor progress and identify any further issues as they arise. If residents or business owners identify rats at any other locations please report it to the council on 01354-654321.”