Fears over Lochpark rat outbreak

Scottish Borders Council is investigating reports of large numbers of rats at Lochpark Industrial Estate.

Several traders and members of the public have contacted the Hawick News in the past few days to report sightings of the rodents which it is thought are being fed on a daily
basis.

And one amateur pest controller told the Hawick News that he had been killing rats on the site for months.

Local tyre trader Colin Easton said he’s seen dozens of rats and that although
the problem has been
reported they still seem to be there.

Speaking this week, Mr Easton said: “I’ve seen a lot of rats, dozens at the same time. It’s a worry for folk trading here.

“I’ve seen white rats as well as ginger ones. Someone has been putting food out and folk from the council have been up but I’m not sure what stage they are at.”

The Hawick News visited the site early yesterday (Thursday) morning and as well as seeing several rodents, there was clear evidence of rat holes in the bushes to the rear of several premises.

One passer-by told us: “The place is infested. I used to walk my dog along here off the lead but no longer do so because I was afraid of someone putting poison down. It really needs to be dealt
with.

“I think someone has been releasing pet rats into the wild and they have then
been breeding with the wild ones.”

A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson told us earlier this week: “The council was first made aware of rat activity in the Lochpark area in mid-February.

“Officers have investigated all complaints received and have been monitoring the area along with officers
from our pest control
service.

“Officers have also spoken to local businesses and owners of domestic premises to ensure there are no sources of food.

“Due to the risk of harming other wildlife and pets, we
are unable to bait the
area.

“We would advise people not to leave food in areas that rats may access, even if the intention is to feed birds or ducks.”