Dumped food in Ilford park causing a ‘plague of rats’

PUBLISHED: 16:46 02 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:54 02 November 2016

Rats in Valentines Park

Rats in Valentines Park

(c) copyright

A wildlife photographer says the borough’s biggest park has become “plagued with rats” due to people dumping food for the birds.

Peter Hopkins, 60, of Perth Road, Ilford says more “more must be done” to stop the pest problem in Valentines Park.

He said: “It’s absolutely disgusting.

“I’m often in that park once or twice a day as it’s very close to my house.

“I try to stop people if I see them doing it, but they just don’t.”

Mr Hopkins says he has seen all sorts of food being dumped “under the pretext of feeding the starving birds”, including pasta, watermelon and raw meat.

He said: “I’ve been studying and photographing the wildlife in the park for years, and the number of rats has definitely increased.

“We have got nothing against the birds but they don’t need all this food.

Mr Hopkins says more enforcement action should be taken against people who improperly dump food.

He said:“After many complaints and confrontations, Redbridge Council and Vision Leisure who have responsibility for our green spaces, have made a lot noisy promises but have done absolutely nothing to stop this disgusting practice.”

A Vision spokesman said: “Vision –Redbridge Culture and Leisure takes its responsibility towards the borough’s parks and open spaces very seriously and would strongly contest the notion that “nothing has been done” to deter those who leave food waste in the park or to deal with any vermin present within the park.

“Vision has a programme of baiting to remove vermin and the Redbridge Community Police Team and enforcement team also works to ensure that people do not dump waste irresponsibly.

“There are also signs in the park to encourage people to dispose of their rubbish responsibly and not to feed birds as this can encourage vermin.”

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