COUNCIL binmen have accused residents in Hyndburn of attracting rats to alleyways by feeding stray cats.

Workers for Hyndburn Council have suggested that by allowing homeless moggies to eat food left out by residents, they are in fact attracting vermin to the streets.

One Blackburn Road resident has hit back at this accusation, as he believes it isn’t the presence of cats that’s attracting rats, but the continuous and careless dumping of food waste and domestic rubbish by businesses and other residents in the area.

Andy Richards, who manages Friends of the Cats on Blackburn Road, has expressed his anger at the council’s accusation.

Mr Richards said: “I’ve been feeding the stray cats for over two years now. We feed them out of containers and boxes so they don’t leave a mess, however, the council binmen have taken our containers away after saying they’re attracting rats. I find this ludicrous as, generally, where you see cats you don’t see rats.

“That alley is one of the most complained about for rats but all the eating establishments on that road dump food in the alley. Sometimes there’s big piles of food just sitting next to overflowing bins, that’s what’s causing the rats.”

Mr Richards expressed his indignation and said taking away feeding boxes will stop the cats from coming to the area, saying that a few years ago a similar thing had happened on nearby Charter Street.

He said: “We rehomed several stray cats from the Charter Street area, and as soon as these went residents noticed an increase in rats. It’s not the cats that are attracting rats, it’s the rubbish.”

A spokesman from Hyndburn Council Pest Control said: “Any food source left out will attract rats, no matter how many predators are around. It’s not as simplistic that you don’t see rats where there’s a colony of cats."

“Feeding/positioning of equipment can only really continue within the property boundary and I would also advise food should not left unattended and that all excess/spilt food is cleared up immediately.”