Rampant rodents leave Ewell pensioner in darkness
Jacqueline Bellinger said power cuts are caused when rats under her floorboards chew through electricity cables
Rats have repeatedly chewed through power cables at a pensioner's home, prompting a desperate plea for the council to eradicate the rampaging rodents.
Jacqueline Bellinger, of London Road in Ewell, said the problem started six months ago when her next-door neighbour vacated his house, and his front and back gardens were left to degenerate.
The 68-year-old said the gardens are now completely overgrown, with rats running freely around them - which have now spread to her house. Both of the houses are privately owned.
The great-grandmother, who shares her home with her daughter, her pregnant granddaughter and her 15-month-old son, said her power has cut out seven times in the last six months because rats are feasting on the cables beneath the kitchen floorboards.
She said: "I keep going to the council and nothing has been done. It has been affecting my health and it’s causing friction within the family.
"Environmental health officers from the council came round last Monday and put down traps. We know the problem is rats under the kitchen floor.
"The front garden next door has now grown onto the pavement and a blind lady walked into it the other day.
"We have had barbecues during the summer with rats running past."
A council spokesman said this was a "highly complex" case and the house and garden had not been maintained for some time, with a public health notice being served on the owner earlier this year.
He said: "Tenders have been sent and received back for building works for renovations to the property so the occupant can be reinstated with an assisted living/care package in place.
"We hope work will begin in the next two weeks.
"The council is having the front and rear gardens cleared and treated for vermin.
"Action is concentrated on the internal parts of the property and won’t have a significant impact on the external appearance.
"Residents need to be assured we are not spending taxpayers’ money ‘doing up’ a private residence.
"The council provides treatment for rats in domestic premises.
"Residents who feel this free service is inadequate are at liberty to engage a private firm."