A father-of-four says he is pleading with his local council for help as his life has been a complete nightmare since rats infested the attic of his local authority home 16 years ago.
Darren Langabeer, from Llanelli, said the problem first started when the family noticed rats were eating all the food in their kitchen. Since then, the 49-year-old said he had made several complaints to Carmarthenshire Council and other authorities but the problem still wasn’t resolved.
He said people needed to know what his family had been going through for so long.
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A Carmarthenshire Council executive board member said they were working with the tenant to try to resolve his problems.
But Darren said that for the past 10 weeks he’d had no electricity upstairs due to the rats chewing through cables in the attic and the family had been forced to use their phone torches to be able to move around the house.
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Darren said he and his wife both worked and took pride in their home, but that it was being ruined by rodents. They both want a safe environment for their children and for the rodent problem to end.
Over the past 16 years his family of six have been moved out the property three times due to infestation issues caused by the rats. Their son has moved out of the property due to the noise of the rats chewing day and night and running through the floor boards.
A total of 58 rats have previously been removed from the property in Llanelli
(Image: Darren Langabeer)
Darren said the first time he and his family were moved out the property was three months after they first moved in as the rats had been eating things in the kitchen. Darren claimed the drains had not been capped off so the rats were able to come in.
He said: “They’ve sent people with bait and we’ve had to move out because they’ve previously killed rats and they’ve gone under the floor boards and the stench is absolutely horrendous to be honest. The council don’t seem to care because they don’t live here.”
Darren works for Calsonic Kansei in Llanelli and his wife works for the NHS in Prince Phillip Hospital and the rats keep the couple awake in the night, when they can hear them chewing through the wood in the attic. He added: “It sounds like there’s cats in the attic with the amount of noise they make. “
Darren’s 14-year-old, 15-year-old and 13-month-old daughters live in the property and have had to live with the problem their whole lives.
“They get scared because they think people are in the house because they can hear the rats in the attic. We can’t sleep, the girls convince themselves that the rats are under the beds and it does fear the girls but it’s become second nature to them hearing the horrible creatures running around the house. If you want to go into the attic, there’s a large amount of rat droppings that are dropping on the floor and I’ve got a child here.”
The attic of the home is covered with rat droppings
(Image: Darren Langabeer)
Darren said that when he had people come into the house to sort out the issue they went up to the attic and so his wife had to disinfect the other floors and carpets as their baby crawled on the floors.
Darren says he has been reporting issues to Carmarthenshire County Council for 16 years but he feels that they are brushing the problem under the carpet. He says 58 rats have been previously removed from the property and on one occasion the rats had eaten through the fire alarms, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
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He said the council had told him in the past that the rats were at the property due to a compost bin and wood that Darren had in his rear garden for two and a half years. The wood was removed by the council but he said the problem was still there.
The council have offered temporary lighting due to the rats chewing the cables, according to Darren, but he said he didn’t understand why they couldn’t come and just fix the lighting as he was renting the property, which he estimated had cost him £85,000 so far. He said: “We’ve had the electrics done on numerous occasions over the 16 years and it’s just an ongoing problem and they don’t seem to do anything.
“I’ve tried getting through to environmental health and public health but I just can’t get through. I’m just transferred to different people and have to explain the whole story again and it’s annoying. It’s just been a complete nightmare to be honest and I tried to get through to them and they don’t seem to care, they don’t listen to us.
“People need to know what we’ve been going through for the past 16 years. All this moving out, packing ready to go, they were meant to rehouse us but that’s all fallen through so it’s been such a nightmare.”
The council’s executive board member for public protection, Cllr Philip Hughes, said: “We are working with the tenant to resolve pest issues within the property. We have carried out a full pest survey, cleared debris from the affected area and have performed a full drainage system survey in order to identify the cause. Work is ongoing to resolve the issue, with housing and environmental health officers working to identify and deal with the root cause.”
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