Friday, July 8, 1966

ANGRY residents claim that rats are on the increase in the Outwood Road area, despite denials by health officials who say that there are no colonies of vermin on the nearby rag dumps or tip.

They blame a recent fire at the paper mill site for the migration of rats to nearby fields and gardens.

A Radcliffe Times reporter who toured the district was left in no doubt that householders were becoming more and more annoyed and frightened by the unwelcome visitors who chew their garden sheds and keep them behind locked doors.

All of the residents interviewed reported that they had seen rats in the area at some time, most in recent weeks.

Speaking at this week's council meeting, Cllr A Sandiford said that he could see a "hideous conglomeration of bales, rags, and paper" from his back window and had reported rat complaints to the health inspector.

Cllr J Holcroft moved an amendment urging the owners of the dumps to take action, in order to remove the problem of rats and other health hazards.

John Oldfield, the chief public health inspector, said: "As far as humanly possible we have investigated the entire area and there is no evidence of any heavy rodent infestation. If there are colonies of rats we have not found them yet."

One resident, Joyce Braiben, will be moving her family out of Outwood Road to escape the nuisance.

She said: "I have been in this house for four years and have not had this trouble before. It seems to have started since the fire in the bales of waste paper.

"We were thinking about moving before, but the rats have finally decided it."

Joan Lee, a teacher, told the Radcliffe Times that her cat had caught more than 20 rats in the last month and she had even found one running around in her washing machine.

She said: "It is quite a shock to wake up in the morning and find a dead rat on the step. At first, I buried a couple in the back garden but since then I have been putting them in the dustbin."