Residents of an Angus village have become terrified to open their doors as the area has become over-run with rats.
Locals of Auchmithie say they have been spotting the rodents for more than a year now but more are appearing all the time.
Now residents believe there are as many as 20 rats roaming the village.
The locals noticed the rats in May last year when they first contacted Angus Council but sightings of the vermin have increased this year as the weather has become warmer.
‘You saw one and then you saw about 20’
One villager, Megan Macfarlane, said she was out with her partner just over a month ago when she noticed the rats were back.
She said: “It wasn’t until the first sunny day of the year, me and my partner were outside, sat on the balcony, enjoying a Saturday, when we heard a noise and just noticed rats everywhere.
“You saw one and then you saw about 20 of them.”
Megan said that the sightings of the rats have increased since that point and villagers have been unable to enjoy their gardens.
She said: “We were sat out the front on Saturday having a barbecue.
“It was a lovely evening, all the neighbours were out and this rat just appeared.
“I don’t know if it was the food smell or whatever, but you can’t really do anything without being faced by rats.
‘It’s affecting everybody in the area’
“They’re obviously now expanding.
“They’ve been across the road, they’ve been in people’s vehicles, in their engine space, they’re just becoming a total nuisance.
“It’s the fact that they carry diseases as well, that’s really a worry.
“They’re obviously getting a bit more confident and making their way around everywhere pretty much.
“There was one dead on the road the other day, it lay there for a couple of days apparently.
“It’s at the stage now where it’s just affecting everybody in the area.”
Megan said Environmental Health have been out to make checks in the village, however the situation is not improving.
She said: “Environmental health have been out, they’ve been to my house because I wanted them to see the area that was being affected most, which is the back of our house.
“We’ve been once or twice more to check the embankment area, just like the banks of the stream just to see if they were nesting anywhere but there are no signs of them there.”
Kerr Mawhirt, who also lives in the village, has concerns about the vermin affecting his grandchildren after he found one in his back garden.
He said: “I had one sitting in my back garden.
“I had just come back from the beach with my grandson and we just walked into the back garden and this thing [a rat] is just sitting looking at us and they’re not afraid of humans which is rare.
“Obviously it’s a worry with the disease that they carry, I’m more worried about my grandkids but we do need to get something sorted out.”
Kerr also has concerns that the rat infestation is escalating.
‘They are travelling further afield’
He said: “There was a rat that actually came out and it was walking around the square on the other side of the road so they are travelling further afield.
“This was one that we actually managed to kill and it had gone up and underneath one of the other neighbours cars.
“You could actually hear it going in and around the plastic pipes so he ended up opening up his bonnet and started banging and shouting and it actually came out.
“You may expect to see a rat or two in the countryside maybe over a year, but not to see them every other day and the most I’ve actually seen myself is three together.”
I’m worried about my grandkids.
Another neighbour, Pat Clegg, said now none of the villagers can leave their doors open.
She said: “We’re all in the state now where we do not leave our doors open in case we get unexpected visitors.
“I think my main concern is there is a problem that has been going on for over a year and getting worse.
“We live in the countryside and there are rats in the countryside, but not to this extent.
“I just imagine if this was happening in the middle of Dundee or somewhere it would be dealt with very quickly.”
An Angus Council spokeswoman said: “We can confirm we were made aware of sightings of rats at Auchmithie.
“Our Environmental Health Team have been in contact with residents in the area with regard to treatment and have arranged to go out with a surveyor this week to assess the area.”