Joy as South Ribble Council suspend '˜rat tax'

A resident whose dead rat protest forced a council into an embarrassing U-turn has admitted: 'It pays to complain.'

Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 10:50 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 11:53 am
Becky Watson

Rebecca Watson shocked reception staff when she dumped the rodent at the front counter of South Ribble Civic Centre.

Her one woman demonstration, featured in the Post, against the council charging £41 to send out the rat catcher did the trick, with the authority immediately suspending the fee.

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Now Rebecca has had a free visit from the council’s pest control team, as have other neighbours in Broadgreen Close, Leyland.

“It’s brilliant,” she said. “I hoped my little present to the council would make them sit up and take notice. But I didn’t expect it to happen so fast.”

The council’s cabinet passed an emergency motion to temporarily suspend the “rat tax” until July 11 when a new policy can be formally adopted.

Members agreed the charges had led to a drop in the number of call-outs to deal with rats and mice, making the borough’s rodent problem worse.

“My point was that many people can’t afford to pay £41 - we’ve got some families who can’t even afford a loaf of bread, never mind a visit from the rat catcher,” explained Rebecca. “So people haven’t been reporting rats and we’re seeing more and more of them.

“I had three running around my back garden in the middle of the afternoon the other day. I’ve put poison down myself, but it hasn’t seemed to affect them.

“Now we’ve had a visit from the pest control staff. They’ve put poison in the main drains and the housing department are coming round to block off holes in the flooring where they have been getting in. People are calling me the ‘rat lady’ now in Leyland, but at least it’s worked.”