GIANT rats are frightening the life out of pensioners in a Rubery street, alleges a concerned councillor.

Cllr Peter McDonald says residents of Birch Road have told him they are scared of going outside due to the 'plague' of rodents.

Bromsgrove District Council confirmed to the Advertiser it is investigating the matter and is sending an Environmental Health Officer to inspect the area.

Cllr McDonald said: "These senior citizens are being plagued by rats.

"Residents have complained to the authorities but little is being done: if anything the situation has got worse.

"One couple has had to stop sitting outside in the fine weather as rats openly run around them.

"A resident who turned up at my surgery stated they didn't think they had ever seen so many rats running around their back garden and through their hedge.

"They said the rats are huge, that they are becoming really concerned and that there seems to be a massive increase in the rat population."

The Rubery North councillor added: "Rats are not only a serious health risk, causing Weil's disease and other diseases but can inflict a great amount of structural damage.

"They can cause serious fires by gnawing away the insulation around electrical cables, floods by puncturing pipes and even death by chewing through gas pipes.

"Nobody should have to live in conditions where rats are a threat to their health and wellbeing. I have asked the District Council to take immediate action before someone falls seriously ill.”

A Council spokesperson responded: “We have received a small number of complaints from residents in Birch Road over recent years but we have contacted Cllr McDonald earlier this week, following correspondence from him, about these issues and one of our Environmental Health Officers will be visiting a property.

“While we think it likely that the presence of rats is purely down to environmental factors, including a mild winter, the officer from Environmental Health will consider any other obvious sources.

“As we have informed the residents previously, our Pest Control Service offers free treatment for those in receipt of Employment & Support Allowance (ESA), Full Housing Benefit, 80% Council Tax Support and Universal Credit and covers rats. Otherwise a private contractor needs to be enlisted.”