RESIDENTS in an affluent Cheshire village are becoming increasingly concerned about a recent infestation of rats.

The sight of the unwanted rodents is becoming more and more widespread in Lower Peover, according to documentary film maker Dave Spencer.

Mr Spencer, who has lived in the village for many years, says how over the last couple of months, the problem with rats has become more and more obvious, with the sight of several rats in his garden now an unwelcome and common sight.

He claims the rise in rodent numbers has come as a result of new homes that have been built in and around the village in recent years.

"The land these houses were built on was former farming land, which at one point contained three ponds," Mr Spencer explained.

"These are the first houses to be built in the village since the 1960's.

"But since these houses were built, suddenly we're all getting a plague of rats."

Knutsford Guardian: The rats are now regular visitors to Dave's garden.

The rats are now regular visitors to Dave's garden.

Sixty-nine-year-old Mr Spencer, who lives with his wife Mandy in Birchwood Drive, said Cheshire West and Chester Council have sent officers out to investigate the problem and although a number of measures have been used, feels the response so far has been fairly indifferent.

He added: "I had another e-mail from another neighbour this morning and what we're trying to do is encourage everyone to contact our local councillor.

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"Our village obviously straddles the border of Cheshire East and Cheshire West, but most of our houses are actually in the latter.

"We've also involved our local parish council here but there is very little they can do other than act as a lobbying group for us residents.

"We've found one villager after another who is experiencing the same problem of having rats in their gardens.

"There's always been rats around of course, but it's only been in the last few months that seem to be increasing in number.

"Sightings of them are now becoming more common and frequent and they seem to be around the whole village now.

"They're fairly large in size and are becoming more and more bold and are often within just six feet of the house.

"We've even stopped putting food out for the birds now as the rats are that clever they find ways to get to it, even by climbing trees.

Knutsford Guardian: Dave Spencer and his wife Mandy have lived in the village for many years.

Dave Spencer and his wife Mandy have lived in the village for many years.

Mr Spencer said he wrote to the council about the issue a while ago and felt the response he got back was rather dismissive of the problem, suggesting it wasn't as widespread as he seemed to think it is.

"They seemed to imply I was the sole complainant, but our next door neighbour had already contacted them about the issue," he added.

"It seems to me that the council just tend to close ranks and rather than wanting to do anything, find ways not to.

"The problem is clearly more widespread and if the council continue chasing them from house to another, they might eventually end up in Knutsford.

"I've joked that the only thing we can do if the council can't do anything is to get in touch with Germany and see if we can borrow the Pied Piper of Hamlyn."

A spokesman for Cheshire West and Chester Council said: "We are aware of the issues in Lower Peover and that the new housing development may have caused a disturbance to vermin in the area.

"Pest Control officers are visiting the site on 21 April and, working with United Utilities, we intend to lift and bait accessible sewer covers in the areas which have been highlighted to us.

"We will also assess the nearby parkland to identify rodent activity and possible nesting sites, to further address the issue."