A PLAGUE of rats is back - in and around the River Avon in Chippenham town centre.

A local businessman has now repeated his calls for the town council to do something about it.

“What are they doing?” said aid Jonathan Blacklock, director of Blacklock and Partners in Avon Reach. “It is about time they got to grips with this once and for all.”

He said people throw bread and corn to attract and feed the swans and ducks.

“They are just feeding the rats,” he said. “I am appalled that this situation is still going on.”

A spokesperson for Chippenham town council agreed the rats were an issue and explained that since taking over from Wiltshire Council last year they had spent £1168:00 for a site survey and spend £68 a month for pest control management.

Before handing the task of dealing with the rats to the town council, a Wiltshire Council spokesman said they were aware of the issues which were the result of excessive bird feeding.

“We placed signs in the area but these were all ripped down or damaged within a few days. The permanent signs put up a few years to direct people to feed from the bridge and directly in the water rather than on the river bank have also been damaged.

They also installed bait boxes in an attempt to trap but said at the time it was proving difficult to get the rats into the boxes due to the amount of food on the river bank.

Treatment for rats is usually carried out using professional rodenticides which are stored within bait boxes around the affected area.

Rats usually have brown fur on their backs and they are usually about 20 - 27cms long with a tail of 15 - 20cms. Rats are a common problem in rural and urban areas, are very agile and can climb and swim well.

Unlike mice, rats need a regular source of water to survive.

They have excellent hearing and smell, but poor eyesight