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Rats on Newmarket estate a growing problem, say householders

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Residents of a Newmarket estate are being plagued by rats.

Town councillor Kevin Yarrow, who represents Freshfields, Millbank, Tannersfield Way, and Jack Taylor Close, reported the problem to members of Newmarket Town Council, after he said he and Scaltback ward member, Lisa Crissall, had been approached by residents who had spotted rats in their gardens and one who had even had one of the rodents pop up through their toilet.

“It’s a growing problem,” said Cllr Yarrow. “Cllr Crissall and I have spoken to quite a few residents who have reported rats at their homes.”

Newmarket's Freshfields, where residents have said they are being plagued by rats
Newmarket's Freshfields, where residents have said they are being plagued by rats

He said it had been suggested the apparent influx of the vermin was down to the development of the former gas works in Exning Road.

The site had stood empty and unused for more than 10 years before workers moved in to de-contaminate it and install pipework, and infrastructure, ahead of the building of the new Aldi supermarket, which opened earlier this year.

“When the site was disturbed, the rats appear to have penetrated the water system,” said Cllr Yarrow, who lives on the estate, and said he had recently come face to face with a rat in his garden.

He and Cllr Crissall have now put together a residents’ questionnaire, the Freshfield’s Flyer, asking about dates and frequency of incidents with rats.

Cllr Rachel Hood said West Suffolk Council had been made aware of the issue and a spokesman for the authority said: “We have been out to inspect, have written to residents giving advice and have confirmed that people that do have rats are taking the appropriate measures.”