A plague of “massive” and “fearless” rats are taking over a Newcastle park, city officials have been warned.
Council bosses have been urged to take action to deal with a swarm of vermin at Gosforth Central Park.
Concerns about the rat problem were raised on X, formerly Twitter, by ex-Labour councillor Simon Bird who said he had “seen similar size cats”.
Posting on Monday 30 October, he said: “Massive rats are taking over Gosforth Central Park… Not even scared of people. Several old folk v startled today almost having to step over them.”
Some commenters replied that Leazes Park is suffering from the same issue.
Gosforth Lib Dem councillor Colin Ferguson called on Newcastle City Council and park bosses at Urban Green Newcastle, the charitable trust which manages the city’s green spaces, to “get their heads together, own the problem, and fix it urgently”.
He added: “We most recently raised this issue in August, and were promised pest control measures would be introduced. This has been a saga running for years, with neither the council nor Urban Green taking responsibility, so we were initially pleased that we might finally see progress.
“Frustratingly, the brazen behaviour of the increasingly fearless rats is ruining the experience of the park for families and local residents. Current measures don’t appear to be effective.”
A spokesperson from Urban Green Newcastle said: “Members of the public have made us aware of the current rat problem in Gosforth Central Park. In response, we arranged for Newcastle City Council to visit the site so they can develop a plan to address the situation.
“Going forward, pest control will remain part of our service agreement with Newcastle City Council so it can be regularly monitored. We’d urge park visitors to please use the bins on site when disposing of any litter, and if the bins are full, please take any litter home and dispose of it there.”
Newcastle City Council were contacted for a response, but had not responded at the time of publication.
The council has previously been criticised for charging residents £84 for a callout to deal with a rat infestation.
After Walker was named earlier this year as the rat sighting capital of the North East, the local authority said that the vermin were “unfortunately a part of life”.
A spokesperson said at the time: “We work closely with Northumbrian Water who carry out a sewer baiting programme and we proactively engage with businesses to ensure waste is managed responsibly. We also educate people on how small steps taken in and around the home can reduce the risk of attracting rats.
“Rats are often attracted to bags of rubbish left beside bins so it is everyone’s responsibility to dispose of waste correctly. Residents and businesses can help with this by ensuring all waste is bagged, put in bins with lids on and not overfilling them.
“Our dedicated team of qualified pest control technicians provide an expert, cost effective service to tackle infestations in homes and premises.”
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...