COUNCIL boss are to investigate an infestation of rats in a town suburb of terraced homes.

Landlord Martin Kerry raised the issue after tenants in Mill Hill contacted him about rodent infestations.

He called in pest controller Ian Smith from Adlington who revealed a growing rat problem across Blackburn with Darwen.

Mr Smith said Mill Hill was one of the worst affected areas of the borough and that he was called out there on a weekly basis.

Now Blackburn with Darwen Council environment boss Cllr Jim Smith, who represents the area, has ordered an investigation and action to tackle the rats emerging from the sewers.

He, Mr Kerry and fellow Mill Hill and Moorgate councillor Damian Talbot believe building work for 68 new houses on the Queen Victoria Street site of the former Lethbridge’s scrapyard may have worsened the problem.

Mr Smith said: “There has been a growing rat problem in Blackburn for the last two years.

“It is particularly bad in Mill Hill where there are a lot of terraces of houses which rats love and are very difficult to clear.

“I get called out to Mill Hill about once a week to deal with sewer rats. Nationwide the problem is getting worse as many councils have stopped baiting sewers and drains with rat poison.”

Mr Kerry said: “I rent out a couple of houses in Watson Street and Stephen Street in Mill Hill. The tenants contacted me about rats so I spoke to the council. They were unable to do anything for six weeks so I got pest controller Ian Smith to come and deal with it. There seems to be a particular problem in Mill Hill at the moment, possibly from the work at the Lethbridge’s site.”

Cllr Talbot said: “I was contacted by Mr Kerry and one of his tenants. Rats are a worrying problem for householders especially if they have children. I wonder if the problem stems from the work on Queen Victoria Street.”

Cllr Smith said: “I am conecrned and the council will investigate and take action where necessary. We are all close to rats and the council baits the borough’s sewers and drains annually on behalf of United Utilities. I suspect the ground works on the Lethbridge’s site may have disturbed the rats and forced them upwards.”