A Rat's Tale

An Oxford resident has used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the latest statistics on rats - and says the figures prove the rat population is growing.

Annie Skinner, who has lived in East Oxford since the 1960s, says she has been plagued by rats at her Marston Street home this year. Mrs Skinner believes rat infestations have increased since the switch to fortnightly waste collections a year ago.

In September, when she asked the city council what she should do with a dead rat she had found in her garden, she said she was told to bury it or burn it by environmental health officers. She also had rats outside her home during the summer and, despite putting poison down, the creatures returned.

The figures obtained by Mrs Skinner for May to October 2006 and May to October 2007 show a slight increase. In 2006 there were 1,212 call-outs, but this year over the same period there were 1,280.

But the annual figure shows a decrease. In 2006/07 there were 2,362 call-outs compared to 2,821 the previous year.

Figures tell a worrying tail (Oxford Mail, 21 November 2007)