Page last updated at 13:23 GMT, Friday, 1 May 2009 14:23 UK

Rats flock to birdfeeder's garden

A flock of starlings.
The council has warned Mrs Bell to stop feeding the birds

A council has threatened to take action against a woman who has sparked an infestation of rats by feeding birds in her garden.

Ann Bell scatters so much food that the rodents have flocked to her neighbourhood in Tuffley, Gloucester.

Brookthorpe Close residents complained to Gloucester City Council about the 59-year-old's actions.

A council spokesman said she had been written to but if that did not work the authority would take action.

'Fairly copious'

"This is a lady who feeds birds in her garden to a fairly excessive extent," he said.

"She puts out fairly copious amounts of food three times a day - whole loaves of bread on the garden and food piled on the bird table.

"That has attracted fairly large numbers of rats and we have had complaints. This is a public health issue.

"On one occasion our environmental health officers saw several rats within five to 10 minutes.

"We've simply advised her not to feed so excessively. We've also told her that if this does carry on we would consider enforcement action."

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