|The Rushden Echo, 27th October 1967, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Rats invading homes on Rushden estate
Rats, one of the biggest disease carriers and a serious danger to the public health, have been invading home and gardens in the Home Farm Estate area of Rushden.
This week Mr. H. W. Ellis, Rushden Urban Council’s Chief Public Health Officer, stressed the importance of keeping rats under control. “We have a man employed specifically for the job. The service is free to domestic households and people should contact us immediately. We will be out within 24 hours,” he said.
Mr. Ellis said the problem was not confined to the Home Farm Estate, however, adding that over the last few weeks they had received several complaints from that area.
The problem on the estate is not a serious one at the moment, but the danger with rats is that they breed rapidly and once a colony is established it is more difficult to destroy it.
Mr. Tony Painter, of 12 Ashby Drive, saw a rat in his garden and he decided to solve his own problem. Rather than chance poison, he bought a gun and eventually he shot a rat under his garden shed.
At nearby 12 Barnwell Drive, Mrs. Gwendoline Hasdell said her husband found a dead rat in the loft.
“We think it came from next door. When it was poisoned it gnawed its way through to our loft to die. We have not been troubled since,” Mrs. Hasdell said.
But when the rat was alive it terrified the next door neighbour, an elderly woman, who could hear it running across her ceiling at night. Other people in Barnwell Drive have also reported seeing rats in the garden.
Mrs. Doreen Dilley at number 11, and neighbour Mrs. Eileen Ralph at number 13 have been pestered.
“We reported it to the council and poison was put down and we have not had any trouble for about a week,” Mrs, Dilley said.
Most people the “Echo” spoke to seemed to have their own theory about where the rats came from, but Mr. Ellis thinks it is unlikely that they originate from the sewers.
“Generally speaking, Rushden is fairly clear of rats, but we do seem to get more complaints during the autumn.
“We treat all the town sewers ward by ward with poison and our sewers are “clean” of rats. This has been supported by a ministry inspection,” Mr. Ellis said.
At this time of the year, rats come in from the fields in search of food and Mr. Ellis advised against indiscriminate bird feeding.
Scraps of food left on the lawn will attract rats and so will food left in garden compost heaps. People who leave food out for birds should get a bird table or leave the food on a shed or garage roof.
Outside drains or pipes large enough for a rat to crawl through should be blocked with wire meshing.
Mr. Ellis also pointed out that a rat usually feeds some distance from where it lives. So if you see a rat feeding in your garden warn your neighbours. It could have made its home in their garden.