A ROGERSTONE resident has been left ‘frustrated’ at the continuing problem of rats in her garden - and has started a petition after council cutbacks have meant that no pest control service is publicly run in the city.

Sue Jackson, 53, first noticed that large rats were coming into her garden at the end of June as they were nesting in the undergrowth of the canal bank.

Mrs Jackson and husband Peter, 69, who have lived there for 20 years, contacted the council asking them to solve the problem, but were told that due to cutbacks there was no Pest Control officer.

“There are a lot of rats in the garden,” she said.

“I contacted the council who said due to cut backs there were no Pest Control Officers, so I had to pay for a private Pest Control officer to come.

“But they just put poison down and there are still rats there- I would say around five in total- one is the size of a small cat.

“I have had hassle with the council to get the undergrowth cut to tackle the problem.

“I have started a petition for residents to tackle this problem and have got around 200 signatures so far.”

In response a spokeswoman for Newport City Council said: “Since 2008 Newport City Council has had a specific policy with regards to the maintenance of the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal in Newport.

“One of the council’s drainage team checks the canal every day for any immediate problems such as leaks, fallen trees and rubbish dumping and depending on what is found this is given the earliest possible attention.

“Trees are inspected once a year and litter bins are emptied twice a week.

“The cutting of the grass and vegetation each side of the towpath to a width of approximately 45cm is carried out every four to six weeks between April and September.

“In October the whole of the bankside vegetation is cut down to the water level.

“There are reasons why the vegetation along the canal bank is the way it is.

“The council’s biodiversity officer agreed changes to the maintenance to encourage wild flora and fauna.

“Plants which could be regarded as weeds in a domestic garden such as nettles, thistles and docks are invaluable host plants for many species and are left to flourish.

“They are not weeds in this situation but indigenous plants which are suited to this environment and provide food and shelter to many species.

“If they were removed then they would present a huge loss to wildlife.

“The growth of vegetation has been very fast this year as a result of the wet winter and the warm weather experienced recently, however, the team has worked hard to keep on schedule with the cutting along the canal to ensure the safe passage of walkers, cyclists and all users.

“As a result of the extremely difficult financial situation facing the council it no longer runs a pest control service and the council has advised the resident to contact a private sector pest control service. "