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'Respect our Resort' - Appeal after littering feeds seaside rat problem

PUBLISHED: 12:15 13 August 2018 | UPDATED: 08:31 14 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

Visitors to a popular Suffolk seaside resort have been heard screaming as brazen rats rush past.

A rat scampers near to the a shelter at Felixstowe seafront Picture: WILLIAM DREHERA rat scampers near to the a shelter at Felixstowe seafront Picture: WILLIAM DREHER

Suffolk Coastal District Council made the appeal after people in Felixstowe recently reported hearing visitors “screaming” as the rodents brushed past them.

One visitor, who asked to remain anonymous, contacted this newspaper after being shocked by the numbers along the seafront.

“There really are a lot,” they said. “People were walking along with an ice cream and you would hear screams from time to time as one shot past their foot.”

The town has faced criticism for its cleanliness in recent weeks, as the summer season attracts thousands of day-trippers and holiday makers.

A rat near Felixstowe seafront Picture: WILLIAM DREHERA rat near Felixstowe seafront Picture: WILLIAM DREHER

Last week, Jason Alexander, also known as Wildlife Gadget Man, said he had been shocked by the scale of the rubbish left on the beach.

Mr Alexander, who completed a six-day marathon beach clean, to highlight the effect of plastic pollution, said Felixstowe beach was the worse he had encountered along the entire journey.

Although Mr Alexander’s comments were disputed by one Felixstowe resident, who said it was an “insult” to the town, others agreed with him.

In a letter to the editor of this newspaper, Gillian Mason said it did not just apply to the seafront.

One of the rats spotted near the seafront in Felixstowe Picture: WILLIAM DREHEROne of the rats spotted near the seafront in Felixstowe Picture: WILLIAM DREHER

A spokesman for SCDC said: “An unfortunate side effect of Felixstowe’s booming tourist economy is that we have seen an upsurge in the amount of litter, particularly along the seafront, during the summer months. One of the particular problems is people eating takeaway food, then discarding the remains and wrappers on the ground, which attracts rats and other vermin.

While most people are very good at using the bins we provide, there is a minority of local people and tourists who need to be more responsible. Our message to them is clear – ‘Respect our resort. Please don’t litter. Use the bins that are provided.”

The spokesman added that Suffolk Coastal Norse had worked to remove vegetation along Sea Road Gardens, which had been used for rats to nest. “Norse has also placed a number of bait (trap) boxes along Sea Road, which are checked/reset regularly by our pest control officer. These pest control efforts are being increased as a result of the recent rat sightings,” he added.

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