A Mid Sussex resident has raised concerns over children’s health after he spotted rats in a Haywards Heath park.
Julian Purvey told the Middy he was walking through the park at about 7pm when he spotted the rodents by the children’s play area in Victoria Park.
He said: “The rats were next to the play area by the hedge which separates the play area from the static gym equipment.
“Any young children could become seriously ill if they come into contact with the droppings.
“The council used to have a ‘rat man’ but I don’t think he exists anymore.”
The Middy approached Mid Sussex District Council and it said it was ‘taking the issue very seriously’.
Councillor Gary Marsh, cabinet member for service delivery, said: “The council is taking this issue very seriously and has commissioned a pest control company to resolve the issue of rats in Victoria Park.
“Rats will always be attracted to locations which offer shelter, food and water.
“To limit their access to food we are working with the businesses that back on to Victoria Park, making sure waste is stored correctly and that it is not accessible to vermin.
“To reduce the amount of potential habitat for the rats we have removed a lot of the low lying vegetation in the park.
“This will help to reduce the rat population in the park over time but it does mean that they are more visible at the moment. We have encouraged nearby landowners to take similar action.
“Bait boxes have been placed in strategic locations around the park and this treatment will continue until the rat population is under control.
“Park users can help by using the litter bins provided or taking litter home with them.
“We ensure the bins are emptied daily and the park is litter picked every day to reduce the amount of time litter is available to the rats.”