Conniburrow rats

28 April 2010, 06:00

A family in Conniburrow say they are struggling to do things like take their children to school or go to the supermarket, because rats have chewed through wires in their car.

Lorraine Watson - who's got three children - noticed the problem earlier this week and says it means their only car is now off the road until they can afford to get it fixed.

The family have an insurance excess of £200 on the vehicle and - if they do decide to claim - it means they will lose their no claims bonus.

The rats have left droppings under the bonnet of the car, as well as an old apple core and - as the pictures below show - have chewed through several of the cars wires.

Although Milton Keynes Council says there isn't a particularly bad rat problem in the area, it's thought they have been attracted after some other residents on the street put their rubbish out too early, or put food waste in the wrong type of bin.

Mrs Watson told Heart that, as she has kept the front of her property clean - and because it is a council house - she doesn't think she should have to pick up the cost of fixing the car:

"We can't afford to get it fixed. The Council won't take responsibility, but someone's got to."

And she told us what she would like MK Council to do:

"Help with the car. At least offer something or do something to get our car back on the road. Because we rely on it. And [I'd like them to] just try and get rid of the problem. It is a big problem. They are vermin and they carry all sorts of diseases."

Milton Keynes Council has sent Environmental Officers around to the estate to look in to the problem. They say there is an on going effort to put bait down for the rats and to try and educate local residents about using the correct waste disposal methods.

But Karen Ford - who works for Trading Standards at the Council - says the damage to the car is not something they're likely to be able to help with:

"I do feel for this lady, however we do bait public land. As Milton Keynes Council we have a responsibility for ensuring that public areas are clean. Now the areas where the rubbish is being left by the householders isn't public land. It isn't belonging to Milton Keynes Council.

"We are doing our very best to try and put provisions in place to try and stop people allowing the rats a ready food supply. It's an unusual set of circumstances and a very sad set of circumstances but I don't think we could hold our hands up and say it would be the responsibility of Milton Keynes Council."