A St Neots councillor has warned of a plague of rats in the town if measures are not taken to control vermin on a housing estate.

Councillor Barry Chapman, who is also deputy mayor, says he has received a deluge of calls from residents living in the Loves Farm area of St Neots who have noticed an increasing number of rats in and around their properties in recent months.

Cllr Chapman believes the problem could be due to the location of sewage pipes and says people have complained about rats in homes and gardens and even sitting on children's play equipment.

"I am not an expert, of course, but I have been down there and there does seem to be a problem with some of the pipes, which instead of being buried below ground, are proud of the surface," explained Cllr Chapman.

"People have told me they look out the windows at night and it is like looking out at fairy lights flickering, when, in fact, it is the eyes of the rats in their gardens."

Cllr Chapman also noticed that some of the pipes had gaps and holes in them which could allow the rats access to homes and gardens. He has taken to social media to warn people about the rats and is encouraging residents to contact the Environmental Health department at Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC).

"Something really has to be done about this or we could be looking at an epidemic. Rats can have a litter every 10-12 weeks and there are usually 10 or more in the litter so catching a few in a trap is not going to be enough soon."

Resident Tammy Smith, told The Hunts Post, she had already contacted Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association (BPHA), who owns her house, and Environmental Health about the problem and felt she was being "fobbed off".

"We have found them in the house and the other day they were two on the trampoline in the garden," said Mrs Smith who lives in Fox Brook with her husband and four children.

"I am really concerned about disease and my children's health and I have complained and been told by HDC that they are waiting to get a quote, but that was months ago.

The Hunts Post contacted BPHA and was told the issue lies with HDC and tenants should contact its environmental health department.

Chris Stopford, head of community services at HDC, said: "We have been contacted by a number of individual residents, and by BPHA as landlord regarding an ongoing problem with rats in this area. Council officers have visited and provided information and advice to residents and BPHA. We are working with BPHA to provide continued assistance through the council's commercial pest control service. Huntingdonshire District Council provides pest control services to residents and businesses for which further information is available on the Council's website."