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Residents praise 'tireless work' of Hertsmere Borough Council's Environmental Health team
A resident who compared a Borehamwood road to a “third world slum” after it became infested with rats has praised the man who has fought to beat the rodents.
Geoffrey Newton, who lives in Drayton Road, spoke to the Borehamwood Times in January after he found rats crawling under the floorboards of his and his neighbours’ Victorian terraces.
He had traced the pests to a service road behind shops in Shenley Road which he said resembled a “third world slum”, strewn with rubbish in which the rodents were breeding.
The therapist and foster carer said he had complained to Hertsmere Borough Council about the problem and had been met with apathy at first.
However, as soon as the council’s environmental health squad realised the scale of the problem, they worked hard to stem the rising tide of rats.
He praised one man, senior environmental health technician Steve Cozens, who had made it his personal mission to eradicate the pests.
The rats had spread out in a circle from the original breeding ground, and Mr Cozens had traced their movements and returned every week to bait traps and block holes they might have crawled through.
Mr Newton said: “I was really disheartened at the original apathy of the council who did not realise the scale of the problem, but all that has gone now.
“My neighbours and I would like to thank Steve for his untiring dedication to tackling the rat problem. Steve has been amazing. Most people would have tackled the obvious infestation, but Steve has worked tirelessly to ensure he found all their lairs and has baited everywhere.
“Just over a month ago I spotted five rats in five minutes in my garden. I could hear them scratching under my floorboards and they were everywhere in the service road.
“There is still a slight problem with them but it’s nothing like as a bad as it was. We’re winning the battle now thanks to Steve.”
He also praised Mr Cozens’ managers, who had allowed him so much time to tackle the problem.
Mr Cozens said it was “fantastic” to receive acknowledgement for his work from Mr Newton and his neighbours.
He said: “I was on holiday when the problem was first reported, but as soon as I could I came down to tackle it. I am passionate about pest control, I find the challenge of beating rats, who have evolved to live off our food, fascinating.
“I always do the best job I can but it’s wonderful to have by hard work recognised and I’m grateful to Mr Newton.”
He said the main reason for the spread of rats was people feeding birds in their gardens.
He said: “People lay 15kg of bird food in the garden and it’s gone by morning. They think they have very hungry birds but what they don’t realise is its being eaten by rats who are breeding and infesting their houses.
“They should stop feeding birds if they want to stop rats.”
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