Postcode breakdown shows number of rat sightings in Wakefield district

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More than four calls a day are made about rats to Wakefield Council’s pest control service.

The local authority received nearly 6,000 reports of vermin between 2014 and 2017, results of a Freedom of Information request revealed.

A postcode breakdown showed that WF2, which covers much of the western half of the city of Wakefield, was the most commonly visited area by pest control.

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WF4, which stretches from Flockton Moor in the west to Crofton in the east, the city centre and the WF9 Hemsworth and South Emsall area also saw high numbers of reports.

There was no consistent rise or fall in the number of sightings reported to the council year on year.

Dorothy Atkinson, who has helped run Lofthouse-based Atkinson Pest Control for 20 years, says that vermin numbers have remained steady over the past two decades because conditions are ripe for them to reproduce.

She said: “People are still throwing takeaways and food waste down on the ground – they don’t put it in the litter bins – and that’s how rats live. 

“That doesn’t mean that you’ve more chance of seeing one if you live near a clutch of takeaways because people throw it everywhere. They throw it out of car windows, down country lanes and on the streets.

“It’s the culture of the people unfortunately.”

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There is the old adage that in the UK you are never more than six feet away from a rat, which Mrs Atkinson believes is correct.

She said: “It is true because they are in the sewers, and you’re never far away from a sewer. That’s where they breed.”

In numbers

Reports of rats/vermin made to the council by year:

2014 – 1,606

2015 – 1,333

2016 – 1,685

2017 – 1,320

Most common area for callouts by postcode between 2014 and 2017:

WF2 (city centre and west Wakefield stretching from Carr Gate to Walton) – 976

WF4 (south Wakefield stretching from Flockton Moor to east of Crofton) – 827

WF1 (city centre and eastern Wakefield) – 785

WF9 (Hemsworth and South Emsall) – 771

WF8 (Pontefract) – 594

WF10 (Castleford) – 503

WF5 (Ossett) – 409

WF7 (Featherstone) – 349

WF6 (Normanton) – 342

WF3 (Lofthouse and Stanley) – 210

WF11 (Knottingley) – 154