‘Pied Piper’ feeding rats in Southampton

AS IF a rat infestation around the city was not bad enough, there have now been sightings of a ‘Pied Piper of Southampton’ to make matters even worse.

According to the Daily Echo, a family was forced to sell their home after also becoming a victim of the infestation.

Ali Khan, 34, described his experience as a “misery” when speaking to the newspaper, claiming to have seen “a plague of 100 rats” in the house next door.

A graveyard at Highfield Church was recently closed to the public due to health concerns, citing the amount of rats found.

Vincents Walk: one of the most common place where members of the public find rats in Southampton.
Vincents Walk: one of the most common place where members of the public find rats in Southampton.

All of this has been caused by the local ‘Ratman’, who has allegedly been feeding the rats. He has been spotted buying 20kg bags of wheat – even bacon bits according to some sources – that were recovered from the scene at the graveyard.

If ‘Ratman’ continues with this anti-social behavior he could be fined for feeding the rodents.

This infestation has been around the city for years. What were once award-winning parks, areas such as Hoglands Park and Palmerston Park have also fell victim to the rat plague.

East Park: visually pleasing to look at yet one of the parks which attract other pests
East Park: visually pleasing to look at yet one of the parks which attract other pests

Residents have described hearing them rustling in the bushes at night.
A spokesperson for Southampton City Council gave me a statement on the issue: “We will continue to bait and prioritise these particular spots to bring the activity under control,

“Parks staff regularly empties all bins within the city centre parks and carry out daily litter picks to minimise the build-up of foodstuffs that attract and sustain a rat population,

“However, the degree of success achieved by this activity is dependent on the responsible behaviour of park users in disposing of food waste and wrappings in one of the 115 litter bins provided, and not inadvertently encouraging the presence of rats by feeding pigeons, squirrels and other wildlife.”

Rubbish left scattered around the bin after a Friday night, this is the main attraction for rats to fester
Rubbish left scattered around the bin after a Friday night, this is the main attraction for rats to fester

Listen below to hear what Southampton locals have to say about this infestation:

by Harry Matthews (@harrymatthews__)