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Poisoned gas pellets not ‘practical or safe’ to tackle seaside rat infestation

PUBLISHED: 15:28 22 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:30 22 August 2018

One of the rats dashes past at Felixstowe seafront Picture: WILLIAM DREHER

One of the rats dashes past at Felixstowe seafront Picture: WILLIAM DREHER

WILLIAM DREHER

Safety experts have halted proposals to tackle a Suffolk seaside rat infestation by using poisoned gas pellets.

Suffolk Coastal District Council had considered using the pellets to solve Felixstowe’s rodent problem – but has reviewed its plans after being advised it was not “practical or safe”.

Visitors to the seaside resort have been complaining about the number of rats in the town this summer, which has been blamed on the “booming tourist economy” and people leaving discarded takeaway food on the streets.

Earlier this month, SCDC urged Felixstowe’s visitors to “respect our resort” and use bins to dispose of food and other rubbish.

MORE: Respect our Resort’ - Appeal after littering feeds seaside rat problem

Suffolk Coastal Norse teams have been clearing vegetation along Sea Road Gardens, where the rats have been nesting, and have placed bait boxes to combat the infestation.

Last week, SCDC and Norse said they were investigating other methods, including inserting poisoned gas pellets into rat nests.

MORE: Could Felixstowe’s rats be gassed to deal with rodent problem?

In an announcement yesterday, however, the council said it was no longer considering gassing the rodents. “Having looked into the issue in more detail and taken expert advice, we have been informed that poisoning the rats, by inserting gas pellets into the nests, is not a practical or safe option,” a spokesman said.

“The proximity of the treatment to human activity would create a health risk to people and their pets in the area.”

Instead, Norse teams will be carrying out late night sweeps of the area, emptying bins and cleaning the promenade, betwen 8-10pm, to ensure there is no food waste left to attract rats and seagulls. Three more large lidded bins have also been placed in the area, preventing the rodents accessing the waste inside.

The spokesman added: “We will also be running a poster campaign in the area to actively encourage people not to discard their food waste , and to make sure they treat food waste like other litter and put it in the bins provided. These posters will emphasise the need for people to ‘Respect our Resort’ by not dropping food waste that attracts vermin. This will be supported by a social media campaign.”

Other measures include removing vegetation, placing bait trap boxes and bolstering street cleaning efforts.

Plastic Free Felixstowe has also been carrying out beach cleans to keep the resort tidy.

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