Rat invasion could be sparked by new £20 council call-out fee, fears pest control man

Fears have been raised that new council charges for rat control in South Tyneside may lead to an invasion of the vermin.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 19th January 2016, 5:00 am
South Tyneside Council now charges a £20 rat call-out fee.
South Tyneside Council now charges a £20 rat call-out fee.

South Tyneside Council now charges a £20 call-out fee for people who believe they have rats in their home.

Previously this service was free and there are worries that the fee may put people off reporting the problem.

Keith Mensforth, who runs a private company Deadline Environmental Services, believes there may well be an influx of the rodents.

He said: “Lots of councils, not just South Tyneside, are now using call-out charges and I think it definitely does deter people from reporting problems.

“We already have a massive issue with rats in the area. I am getting the same number of calls in a day which I would normally get in a week. “The problem is with all of the wet weather and flooding, this brings them out. If people don’t report them, they’re just going to breed and the situation will get worse.”

He added: “As a private business, I don’t charge a call out fee. With budget cuts and financial strains, councils which previously did this for free are having to make charges now. I do think it will have a knock on effect.

“There’s no need to be worried about the rat. It’s their urine and waste which can be dangerouse becaus of the diseases they carry and of course they like to chew through things.”

Council bosses say the £20 fee is still very cost effective - and will also covers treatment and subsequent visits to a property. South Tyneside Home will foot the bill for council tenements.

A council spokeswoman said: “The council does not have a statutory obligation to provide pest control services. While many local authorities have pulled out of providing services to make efficiency savings, we introduced charges to enable the council to continue providing a service to eradicate domestic problems with vermin.

“The nominal £20 fee is highly competitive compared to private contractors and offers a substantial subsidy to residents.

“The cost covers the initial visit to their property, investigating the cause of the problem, any subsequent visits as well as carrying out treatments as part of the management and prevention of further problems occurring. We continue to give free telephone advice and guidance on how to proof their properties.”