Huge rats terrorise elderly residents with up to 30 swarming gardens and houses

Residents living in a Sunderland street say they are being terrorised by a mischief of huge rats.

People living in Donnison Gardens say the invasion is a long-running issue and now they can see up to 30 of the animals in the neighbourhood at a time.

They say the rats have been invading their homes and gardens, and have shared photos of the vermin walking along clotheslines and crowding on top of a bird table.

Sunderland City Council said it has discovered faults in the sewers, which could be the cause of the increased numbers, and the authority has now reported the issue to Northumbrian Water.

Retired painter and decorator Paul Reay, 64, has found a rat inside his home before, which was killed by his terriers.

"It's been going on for months now, you can hear them scratching about,” he said.

"I feel like I want to move. We want something done about it.”

Neighbour Jimmy Smart, 70, added: “They chew through the bins and one of my neighbours opened her bin and six jumped out at her.”

Councillor Michael Mordey, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for environment and transport, said environmental health officers have inspected the area.

He said: “Having been made aware of this issue, environmental health officers visited the street and identified a number of faults in the sewer network, these provide a direct route for rodents from the sewer to access the surface and have been determined as the most likely cause of the significant rat activity in the area.”

Steve Heywood, from landlord Home Group, said: "There are a number of other outside factors beyond our control, which makes it difficult.

"We will see what more can be done at our end for sure.

“One of the key factors in alleviating the issue is to stop leaving food out for birds or other animals as this will attract rats and other vermin.”

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