Invasion of 'rats the size of chihuahuas' turns neighbourhood into no-go area

Bin men have declared a street in Glasgow to be a no-go zone after an influx of giant rats said to be ‘the size of chihuahuas’.

Union bosses have ordered refuse collectors to stay away from Earl Street in Glasgow’s west end after they were overrun by vermin the size of small dogs.

But residents have complained the lack of action has left their street looking even worse.

Bin officials claim the move is to avoid compromising the safety of their workers.

Local Sam Whitehouse, 70, said: ‘We can’t have our bins left all over the place.

‘It is unsightly and unhygienic practice to have these in front of our houses.

‘I’ve seen rats out the back, and there is a big problem with them, but surely all that this is going to achieve is to attract them to the front instead.

‘They are going to look for food wherever they can find it. I don’t see how moving where the bins are situated will act as a deterrent.’

The situation was reportedly set in motion after one bin staff described seeing rats ‘the size of chihuahuas’ in the back courtyards of Earl Street residences.

Chris Mitchell, GMB convenor for Glasgow’s cleansing workers, said ‘I’ve been raising this issue for years and we’re still waiting on something being done.

‘Our members’ health and wellbeing are being put at risk because the areas are now overrun by huge rats.

‘Vermin have been known to bite and leave droppings all over the place. It’s only a matter of time before someone ends up ill because of this.

‘Our members rightly feel that the issue needs to be sorted out and will not be stepping foot into the rear bin areas of Earl Street until the rat infestation is properly dealt with.

‘There is an embankment that runs along the back of the properties where the rats nest. That is what is causing the problem.’

Sam says that a lack of collections is putting extra pressure on elderly people to find somewhere to dispose of their waste – and is not happy with the council response.

He said: ‘We got letters through the door, and I was upset by the tone of them.

‘The language was very confrontational and the demands were draconian, in my opinion.

‘We didn’t opt to move the bins or only have them emptied every three weeks, but now it looks like it has become the residents’ problem.

‘The bins are lying there for anyone to use – all sorts of things are being stuffed into them by people walking past.

‘We’ve now been told that if they are full, it is up to us to find somewhere else for our household rubbish to go.

‘I’m not fit to traipse around looking for a recycling point or a half-empty bin that doesn’t belong to me.

‘I don’t believe the onus for this should be on tenants when I pay council tax for a regular and reliable refuse collection service.

‘We don’t want rats running around, and we certainly don’t want big bins the length of the front street.’

A spokesperson from Glasgow City Council says that they are aware of the issues and concerns.

‘We have been working with the local housing association to address this problem,’ the council claims.

‘Some bin courts in the area were previously in poor condition, but work has been undertaken to keep them in good order.

‘While the bait laid down by our pest control team takes effect, bins have been stationed on the street on a temporary basis.

‘We are hopeful our pest control treatments at this location are having an impact but we will continue to monitor this situation closely.

‘Once the pest problem has been dealt with, bins can be returned to the back court area and will be fully serviced by our staff.

‘As part of our health and safety procedures, we would not send our bin collection staff into areas of known infestation.’

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