RESIDENTS of a housing estate in Newport have said rat problems in the area have "got out of control".

Some of the pests infesting the Old Barn Estate in St Julians are so big that one resident said it attacked her French bulldog.

Chantelle Whatley said she was walking her dog Koko when the shocking attack happened.

“He (Koko) was on a long lead, went around the side of the wall and got chased back round by a huge rat,” she said.

“It (the rat) went up on it back legs and tried punching him.

“I was gobsmacked - if (the dog’s) tail was long enough, it would have been between his legs.”

South Wales Argus: Koko the French bulldog, who had a run-in with a rat in St Julians

Koko the French bulldog, who had a run-in with a rat in St Julians

The rats have reportedly been a problem for about 18 months, with some residents blaming flooding which previously hit the area time for washing the rats further up the estate.

The rodents live in bushes, shrubs and in long grass, leading some residents to blame Newport City Council’s No Mow May policy.

South Wales Argus: A rat spotted in St Julians

A rat spotted in St Julians

No Mow May is an initiative that is supposed to encourage biodiversity by allowing certain areas of grassland to grow freely for all of May.

Old Barn Estate resident and campaigner Michael Enea has been documenting the problems, and asked people in the area to send him pictures and videos when they are spotted.

“Over the past two months, my cats have brought in rats at least two times,” he said. “In this are there is a history of fly tipping, but the problem with rats has never been so bad.

“The No Mow May scheme has let the rats flourish.

“Our furry friends have got out of control."

South Wales Argus: Michael Enea showing how long grass in the Old Barn Estate has become

Michael Enea showing how long grass in the Old Barn Estate has become

Other residents have suggested that people throwing bread to feed birds has exacerbated the situation.

Newport, along with the rest of the UK, experienced an big increase in the amount of rats in the city during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Cheryl Hider, another resident, said: “Every day I witness a rat running to and from the three bushes where their habitats are.

“Unfortunately Newport City Homes can’t do anything about it because it’s a residential area and rat poison would be deadly to pets.

“My cat Petra has brought in a dead rat and with the help of Tom from pest control I have had a bait box put by the side of my home.

“Other residents have had them in their home alive.”

A spokeswoman for Newport City Council said: “Newport City Council’s support for Plantlife’s No Mow May campaign has been very positively received by residents and others.

South Wales Argus: A rat found in St Julians

A rat found in St Julians

"The campaign encouraged individuals, councils and stakeholders to help bees, butterflies and other wildlife by letting wild flowers grow on lawns and green spaces throughout May instead of mowing them.

"The council pledged its support in recognition of our status as a Bee Friendly City, and our duty to enhance nature and take actions that help counter the impact of climate change.

“Our regular mowing schedule began again this month. It is not believed that leaving the grass uncut would have led to rats moving into an area.

“It is more likely that they were already there and the hot weather has encouraged them into the open.”