Councils in Norfolk called out more than 1,500 times in a year to deal with rats

PUBLISHED: 07:30 02 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:03 03 June 2018

Generic photo of rats. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth

Generic photo of rats. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth


After a Norwich man went to drastic measures to try and quell his rat problem, it appears he is not alone in being blighted by the rodents.

Johnny Thorpe unintentionally sparked a major incident in Norwich last month as he used an air rifle to try and clear a private courtyard of rats. Photo: Luke PowellJohnny Thorpe unintentionally sparked a major incident in Norwich last month as he used an air rifle to try and clear a private courtyard of rats. Photo: Luke Powell

Councils across Norfolk were called out more than 1,500 times to deal with rats and mice during the past year and this figure is just the tip of the tail, with not all councils providing pest control services.

The figures can be revealed after 29-year-old chef Johnny Thorpe inadvertently sparked a major police incident in Norwich while attempting to hunt his Moby Dick - a giant rat called Steve - with a .22 calibre rifle.

Mr Thorpe, of Rigby Court, Norwich, said: “The figures don’t particularly surprise me. As I’ve learned, rats are very good at adapting to urban environments.”

In the past year, the four Norfolk councils providing pest control services - Broadland, Great Yarmouth, Norwich and South Norfolk - were called out a combined 1,545 times to deal with rodents.

The council called on the most for this was South Norfolk Council, which in 2017/18 dealt with 520 rodent cases. Meanwhile, Great Yarmnouth Borough Council was called upon 371 times, Norwich City Council 339 times and Broadland District Council 315 times.

These figures contribute to a grand total of 2,498 pest control calls made to councils in this period, with others relating to wasps, bedbugs and other insects.

Wasps were the second biggest offender, with 750 separate call outs made to deal with the winged insects.

South Norfolk Council again dealt with the most cases, with 333 wasp cases in this period. There were also 247 calls to Broadland, 105 to Great Yarmouth and 65 to Norwich.

However, these were the only four councils able to provide this information, meaning these figures do not tell the full picture of which parts of the county have the biggest problems.

King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council ceased to offer an in house pest control service from April 2011, while Breckland Council stopped in late 2014.

North Norfolk District Council and Waveney District Council also do not offer in house pest control.

Rat sparks major police incident

Johnny Thorpe, of Rigby Court, inadvertently sparked an armed police response when attempting to hunt rats from his home with an air rifle.

The incident, on April 17, saw Mr Thorpe and his housemate arrested and questioned by police, before being released without charge.

However, he said since this date the giant rat, who he has named Steve, has daren’t show his face again.

He said: “Since the incident I think we have only actually seen one rat in the courtyard - and it definitely wasn’t Steve.

“We have done a bit more research and have been trying other things as well. Apparently, rats are attracted to urinary scents we can’t necessarily smell, so we’ve tried pressure washing the yard to try and get stop that.

“It’s all about the finding different ways of dealing with them and i think we’ve done quite a good job of curtailing the problem.”

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