Shock as his­toric city kirk­yard hit by plague of rats

Dis­carded take­aways blamed for hordes of hun­gry ro­dents

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FRONT PAGE - BY KAITLIN EAS­TON

A CITY-CEN­TRE kirk­yard and tourist spot is be­ing over­run by rats.

Scores of the ro­dents have been spot­ted scur­ry­ing around the grounds of the Kirk of St Ni­cholas and nest­ing among the graves.

It is un­der­stand the coun­cil has pre­vi­ously laid poi­son to get rid of the ver­min, but one source claimed it was a “big is­sue” again.

He said: “I know that other grave­yards don’t have the same prob­lem.

“They’ve got th­ese nice new benches and it’s right in the cen­tre of town. You want to keep this place main­tained.”

Dur­ing a visit to the grave­yard, The P&J cap­tured mul­ti­ple im­ages of the rats. An omi­nous screech­ing sound could be heard as they fought.

A coun­cil spokesman con­firmed they were aware of the prob­lem and said the area would be “treated”.

One mem­ber of the pub­lic said he saw “more than 20” run­ning out from un­der a bin at the Union Street en­trance to the kirk.

And com­mu­nity coun­cil chair­man Dustin Macdon­ald said ac­tion was needed, ad­ding: “When the pub­lic are start­ing to no­tice it, then some­thing needs to be done to look into it.”

Hordes of rats are over­run­ning a grave­yard in the cen­tre of Aberdeen.

The crea­tures have been spot­ted scur­ry­ing across the ground and nest­ing among graves at Mither Kirk’s church­yard.

It is un­der­stood that the coun­cil has pre­vi­ously laid poi­son to get rid of the ver­min, but they have now come back to the Kirk of St Ni­cholas Unit­ing in even greater num­bers.

A spokesman for the lo­cal au­thor­ity said the kirk­yard was now be­ing “treated” un­til a “sat­is­fac­tory out­come” is achieved, but would not com­ment on the method of pest con­trol be­ing used.

One con­cerned man said he saw nu­mer­ous rats rush out from un­der a bin at the gate on Union Street, and voiced con­cerns that the an­i­mals were be­ing drawn to the spot due to the num­ber of fast food out­lets nearby.

He said: “I was shocked at the num­ber of rats I saw, there must have been more than 20 of them.”

A Press and Jour­nal pho­tog­ra­pher at­tended at the grave­yard and cap­tured im­ages of sev­eral large rats at var­i­ous points.

There was a mul­ti­tude of them next to the bins at the Union Street en­trance, and sev­eral were seen bur­row­ing un­der head­stones.

The an­i­mals could be seen crawl­ing into tombs and heard scratch­ing about in­side.

One source said they had seen “heaps” of rats in the grave­yard.

He said: “They have been poi­soned be­fore, and now they’re back – it’s a big is­sue. I know that other grave­yards don’t have the same prob­lem.”

He added: “They’ve got th­ese nice new benches, and it’s right in the cen­tre of town. You want to keep this place main­tained.”

Dustin Macdon­ald, chair­man of the City Cen­tre Com­mu­nity Coun­cil, called for ac­tion to be taken.

He said: “Ob­vi­ously mea­sures need to be put in place. An­i­mals like rats will al­ways be all over the place, wher­ever you go.

“But when the pub­lic are start­ing to no­tice it, then some­thing needs to be done to look into it.”

Pauline Gerrard runs the Guardians of Aberdeen’s Grave­yards so­cial me­dia site, and helps to re­search and main­tain the spots.

She said she was aware of ro­dent prob­lems ex­ist­ing in the past, but said she was “con­fi­dent” the coun­cil would take swift ac­tion to deal with the prob­lem.

A coun­cil spokesman said: “Aberdeen City Coun­cil’s pest con­trol team has car­ried out in­ves­ti­ga­tions and will con­tinue to treat the area un­til a sat­is­fac­tory out­come is achieved.”

Among those buried in the grave­yard are Peter­head-born Wil­liam Penny, one of the lead­ing ad­vo­cates for steam power, Lord Provost Sir Alexan­der Arm­strong, and Sir Ge­orge Skene of Fin­tray.

Pho­to­graph by Kenny El­rick

SNIFFED OUT: Rats seen scut­tling be­tween the head­stones in the grave­yard of St Ni­cholas Church in Aberdeen.

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