Hundreds of giant rats have started invading homes due to a lack of pest control, forcing dozens of terrified families to begin killing the rodents themselves amid fears they could be bitten or catch a disease. The mutant rats, some of which measure a foot and a half long, have been causing havoc in South Cambridgeshire for several months after the council cancelled extermination services. Now local residents say they are forced to spend hours trying to get rid of the rats themselves, as they cannot afford to pay the inflated rates private contractors are charging to take care of the pests. Sonja King, 52, is one of a number of residents who found giant rodents hanging around houses in the town of Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire. Ms King says her home has been overrun with hundreds of rats since the summer, and a £400 quote from a private pest control company has seen her trying to get rid of the vermin herself. She said: ‘During the summer we spent hours of our time, stressed, frustrated and being kept awake night after night catching and killing rats. Now they are back again.’ She added: ‘How long will it be before a child picks up a disease or gets a bite? How long before the plague is back? Mother-of-six Michelle Davies, 43, has also had rats in her home in Cambridge for several months. She if left listening in anguish every night as the rodents chew through treasured photographs in her loft. Ms Davies said: ‘I’m devastated. I don’t want to look and see what’s damaged because it will break my heart.’ She added: ‘We are worried they will get into the house itself if it’s not dealt with.’ A South Cambridgeshire District Council spokesman said: ‘Council taxpayers were subsidising the pest control service to the tune of £30,000 a year before it ceased in August, and with in excess of 40 alternative firms operating in the district to deal with problems such as mice and rats, it was no longer representing good value for money.’
‘Since the service ceased we have not had any formal complaints and are happy to advise residents to help them find a firm who can deal with any pest problem they may have,’ he said.