Council may shoot rats to deal with park infestation

Infestation: Rats in Moor Park, Preston
Infestation: Rats in Moor Park, Preston
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Council bosses may shoot rats in a Preston park to try to tackle the infestation.

Leaders have been working to find a solution to the vermin in Moor Park and a campaign is due to be launched, aiming to stop people leaving food.

But environment chiefs have warned poisoning or shooting, the rats may be the answer.

Coun Robert Boswell, cabinet member for community and environment, was asked for an update on the rats issue at a full council meeting.

He said: “We are tackling the problem of rats – it remains a key issue for officers.

“The main problem is members of the public providing a food source for the rats.”

Coun Boswell said the council had a policy of “public education”, and said: “Over the coming weeks, we will have a publicity campaign being launched aiming to reduce the food.”

He added that, aside from reducing the food supply, other options would be looked at.

He said: “Poisoned bait is the likely solution and we are looking at the possibility of shooting. But there remains many, many problems associated with that and we are a long way off.”

The council has also created posters of two different designs to be displayed. One urges the public not to feed ducks, fish or wild animals, and warns it could lead to a fine.

Coun Boswell said: “The second one is plainer – it simply says ‘Stop feeding the rats’ so if we can’t get the message across with those posters then we will have to look at other action, but we need to stop people feeding the rats.”

Coun David Borrow, who represents the Moor Park ward, said the issue of rats in the park was not new.

He said: “People just need to realise that if they keep feeding the ducks and everything else there there’s a danger that will just attract vermin.

“If people are leaving food for birds and animals in that area, they need to be aware that will help support rats.”

He said as part of the £2.2m lottery cash investment into the park, work would be taking place near the duck pond.

He said: “I’ve lived next door to Moor Park for 30 years, and on fairly regular intervals there have been issues around rats in the park.”