GRAPHIC IMAGES: Residents' 'living nightmare' as plague of rats invade village near Chesterfield
Residents being terrorised by rats in a village near Chesterfield have issued a desperate plea for action.
The 'unending' scourge of rodents have been 'chewing through doors', 'invading family homes' and 'scarpering round pavements in broad daylight' in Holmewood, they said.
It is understood that the Masefield Avenue, Heath Road and Hunloke Road areas are all badly affected.
Lauren Ligatt was shocked to catch one of the pests in her kitchen cupboard.
The mum-of-two has launched a Facebook group for residents to collate their grim experiences and pictures while she calls on MPs and councillors in the area for help.
Lauren said: "My children have had to have blood tests to check they haven't caught anything off the rats, which was quite traumatic.
"Many residents and landlords have had to fork out for pest control privately as there are long waiting lists for the Council-funded ones.
"My neighbour found rat droppings in her downstairs toilet and there are children in that house too. It's a living nightmare."
Tracey Peacock, who lives on Masefield Avenue and has three young children, was left without heating for a week after rats chewed through wiring connected to her boiler.
The single mum said: "Not only were we without heating, the rats also chewed through my washing machine pipes and the kitchen kept getting flooded with water.
"They have chewed a hole in my door, holes in my living room carpets- even a brand new carpet I bought for my bedroom that I hadn't put down yet.
"I've had the pest control out but had to pay £25-50 a time, and I'm on Universal Credit.
"The damage to my house is unreal, they have destroyed our home. I've asked to be moved but I don't know how long it will take. I'm at my wit's end."
Residents believe the problem began due to a nearby housing development which has been built on the site of former allotments.
"The land had been untouched for about ten years," said Lauren. "So all that rats that lived on the land have dispersed, looking for new homes.
"Unfortunately, they have chosen our homes."
A spokesperson for North East Derbyshire District Council said: "The Council is concerned to hear that residents are having this experience with rats in the area.
"From time to time the Council is aware that rats look for warm places as the weather turns colder but is taking seriously the comments brought to our attention recently from people in Holmewood."
North East Derbyshire District Council’s portfolio holder for the Environment, Councillor Charlotte Cupit said: “Development in the area has been ongoing for some considerable time, so disturbance and clearance of land can inevitably cause dispersion of rats.
"We have received a service request from a resident. We operate a pest control service and due to the high demand for this service at this time of year we have given appropriate advice to the customer and are surveying the site for any harbourage of rats and deal with them accordingly.”
Efforts have been made to contact the housing development in question.