RESIDENTS living in a housing complex have complained about an infestation of rats.

Steve Bailey, who lives at Eachill Gardens in Rishton, owned by affordable housing provider Onward Homes, says the creatures are crawling around in the ceiling.

Mr Bailey, who is 66 and works in finance, first noticed the rats four weeks ago.

He said: “We have a communal garden with bird feeders, so I feed them.

“One day I saw a rat there and I reported it to Onward Homes and three weeks later somebody else reported it to the manager.

“The manager sent us a memo to say it is nothing to do with them and told us to stop feeding the birds, I was fuming.

“When I went home, myself and other residents found there were rats in the roof space.”

After four weeks, Onward Homes sent someone to inspect the area, but Mr Bailey is unhappy with the amount of time it has taken.

He said: “To get anything done we have to constantly complain to them.

“I live on the first floor and you can see rat urine stains on the ceilings and if you push any of the ceiling boards between the first and second floor, rat droppings will fall.

“I don’t know how they got there."

The complex consists of 57 flats, with studios and one and two bedroom flats which are occupied by over 50s, who may have limited mobility and dementia.

Mr Bailey said: “One lady told me she is terrified and can’t sleep because she is scared of having one drop on her.

“To think you can walk into your own home and a rat can drop on your head is disgusting.

“With coronavirus already to deal with, I just like sitting outside because we couldn’t go anywhere.

"To be told like a child you can’t feed the birds is frustrating.”

A spokesman for Onward Homes said: “In recent months we have received an increase in reports about rats and mice in the aforementioned properties.

“During this time the local authority’s pest control team were not conducting all of their usual visits due to COVID-19, so we have asked a private contractor to attend to carry out work both inside and outside properties

“We are arranging for our Repairs Team to ensure that any physical points of entry are blocked up as a matter of urgency. A pest control contractor has visited the site and we are arranging for a Pest Management Programme to put in place for 12 months.”