Families ‘terrorised’ by infestation of ‘super-sized rats the size of cats’

'Super-sized' rats which are reportedly as big as cats and can scale walls are terrorising the fed-up residents of a Sheffield street, locals claim.

Popple Street and the surrounding area in Page Hall is so plagued by rodents that dead rats can be seen lining the road, Yorkshire Live reports.

One mum even discovered one in the engine of her car, which had died after trying keep warm in the winter.

Rihanna Qureshi has lived in Popple Street with her 11-year-old daughter for five years.

She says she sees rats "all the time" and blames the menace on overflowing rubbish caused by youngsters who don't know how to use bins.

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"I don’t like it at all," the 37-year-old said. "I would like to be somewhere much cleaner and healthier than this environment which is just full of rubbish outside.

"We can do as much as we can inside to make it look clean and pleasant but then when you go out it’s not pleasant at all.

"I had a rat in my old car. It died in the engine and there was a foul smell. I couldn’t work out what it was but it turned out a rat has got through underneath and stayed in the engine to keep warm in the winter.

"I think this area is the worst for it and I’ve got a feeling that on a Friday and Saturday night when the kids are out they have takeaways and just leave them on the floor.

"They just chuck them – the youngsters, the under 18s. They hang around the bottom before walking up and down the street and they don’t know how to use a bin."

A Freedom of Information request by Yorkshire Live found that last year, the litter-strewn street was the most visited by Sheffield City Council's pest control teams.

They were called out 157 times in 2019, with nearby roads such as Robey Street, Lloyd Street and Wade Street receiving a similarly high number of visits.

Miss Qureshi says the rodents make her feel anxious and that she even discovered a family of mice living in her house a few years ago.

She does not feel comfortable letting her daughter play outside and will not leave the door open in case a rat scurries into her home.

Miss Qureshi said: "When I open the back door I’m worried they’re going to get in. I can’t leave it open and walk away and these are the fears and anxieties we have.

"It’s not nice at all and I do feel anxious because I worry that one will run inside. My daughter isn’t playing outside and I can’t put an inflatable pool outside in the summer because rats could be running around it and she is scared to go out into the garden because of them.

"These youngsters just need educating in classes. Please give them more education about rubbish and how to keep Britain tidy."

Fellow Popple Street resident Tanya, 37, says the rats are the same size as small cats.

The mum-of-two won't go out at night, or eat from nearby takeaways, due to the rat infestation.

"I refuse to go out after 8pm and it’s just so sad because you don’t know what you’re walking into. I went for a walk a few weeks ago and I was sat on this wall and there were 11 rats running around our street so I had to get someone to rescue me.

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"They are giant rats. [They’re] super-sized and they jump up on walls. I’ve seen them scale from my back wall up the wall above.

"My little lad has got an orange bike and he can’t play in the back garden because there’s not enough room. The only place he can go is out on the street but I’ve had to stop him because it’s absolutely diabolical out there.

"It’s filthy and my son has got kidney problems so going out there could kill him. This area wants knocking down and rebuilding."

Sumera Bi, 29, says she is so fed up of seeing rats plodding around her garden, as well as cockroaches in her home, that she wants to relocate.

The mum-of-three said: "At night time there are lots there and it’s been a problem in the past year. You see rats running around and they are big.

"We get cockroaches too in the bedroom and we want to move away from this street because it’s dirty."

Meanwhile dad-of-six Darren, 32, who lives in nearby Robey Street – the road with the fourth highest number of pest call-outs in 2019 – says he often sees dead rats lining the terraced street.

He said: "When I open the door I’m scared a rat will come in. People shouldn’t have to live like that and once these things get into your house they get into your walls and you’re f*****."

Of the top 20 most visited streets by pest control in Sheffield last year, 15 are within a half-mile radius of one another in the Page Hall area.

Sheffield City Councillor Mark Jones, who is the cabinet member for environment, street scene and climate change, wants to tackle residents' concerns with rodents in Page Hall and make the area a proud place for people to live.

He said: "We are working hard to tackle the longstanding issues in Page Hall and we hope to build on much of the work that has already been done.

"Working with partners including Yorkshire Water, we hope to lift Page Hall up and finally get on top of the many concerns people have including rats and mice.

"We ask all residents to dispose of their waste responsibly. Where people are struggling we will support them.

"The council will intervene where necessary. But, through working with residents we hope to be able to turn a corner in Page Hall and make it a place that people are proud to live in.

"It is the responsibility of all residents, landlords and the council to tackle the environmental issues that plague Page Hall. Working together we can make a positive difference."

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