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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 December 2005, 09:55 GMT
Residents in fear of 'giant rats'
Rats have been seen "playing tig with the buses"
Rats reported to be "the size of cats" are taking over an estate in Belfast, according to residents.

The giant rats have been seen jumping out of bins and even going into houses at the Inverary estate in the east of the city for over a month.

Residents said it was like "living in a horror movie".

They have to keep doors closed at all times and their children are not allowed outside to play.

One man reported that the rats had attacked his dog.

Local people believe the problem began when the transport company, Translink, carried out work at a railway line close by.

They have called on the council and Translink to eradicate the problem immediately.

They are like cats. They are stone deaf, they fly up and down the road and play tig with the buses
Jane Ormer and Gail Leemer

In the meantime, they said they have been forced to deal with rats which are big and fearless. They come out in broad daylight and they have even attacked a dog.

"We see rats daily," said June Brown from the local community centre.

"One of the mothers was coming to the mother-and-toddlers and a rat came out and walked alongside her pram.

"The baby was actually delighted to see this furry friend. She did not want to react in case she frightened the child."

Ms Brown is concerned for the safety of children after the rats attacked a dog.

"My concern is that if a rat attacked a dog and a child is not frightened and approaches it, then it might attack the child."

Her colleagues, Jane Ormer and Gail Leemer said the rats had no fear.

"They are like cats. They are stone deaf, they fly up and down the road and play tig with the buses.

"They come out in daylight. Nothing seems to scare them. If a bus was coming, the rat would just dilly dally along the road.

"Nothing seems to deter them. They don't seem to be frightened of human people."


Ronald Parkhill said rats were "up and down the street all hours of the day and night".

"Refuse men emptied the bins - when they opened the lids, the rats were jumping out of them," he said.

Mr Parkhill said he was frightened for his son, Craig, 2, who has had the infection, MRSA.

"My main concern would be with my wee baby son. I just don't let him out at all," he said.

"Obviously we are concerned about the infections that the rats would carry. We don't like him out in the grass or shrubbery .... It is a nightmare. He is just more or less a prisoner in his own home."

Many residents believe the problem started when Translink dug up an old fence making the rats homeless.

Translink has set down traps and the council's pest control has put out poison.

Residents want the problem eradicated as soon as possible.

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