The people of housing estate in County Durham have a niche way of dealing with their rat infestation problem.
One local is single-handedly putting an end to the community’s problem, by hunting all the rats herself.
Tara, the pet terrier, and her owner Adrian Oliver are on a mission to rid a housing estate in Durham of its long-running rodent problem which has left parents fearing for their children’s safety.
Cute Tara, who looks like a teddy, has snared over 600 rodents in the past year, and once managed to kill 42 in one day.
The dad-of-two said: ‘I am scared of letting my little girl play outside because I am so worried that a rat will come and jump on her.
‘They are everywhere, in bins, cars, sheds and they even burrow underneath people’s houses and chew through the foundations.
‘If it wasn’t for Tara they would literally be breeding like rats. We would be overrun with them, they’d start to infect people and cause illness.
‘This could be avoided if the council actually stepped in.’
The pair work as a team, Adrian uses a machine to smoke rats out of their hiding places, and then Tara pounces.
He said that in the past the council charged locals £40 for rat poison to be spread in the area, but this technique failed as the rats have now become immune to the toxin.
He says that the council should now be paying him and Tara for their exterminating services, or else the rat population would be rife.
He added: ‘It is disgusting. It is a really really bad problem in this area now and has been for the last few years.
‘The council are not doing anything at all about it – and they actually charge people for rat poison which doesn’t even work.
‘The rats have become immune to it because they are evolving, they are so big.
‘People have been turning to me to get Tara to sort their rat problem – I’ve had people asking to buy her off me for hundreds, but I’m not interested.
‘She is the best ratter in the business.
‘She is the softest dog when she is in the house with the kids, but as soon as she gets outside she can’t wait to get hold of them rats.’
Joanne Waller, head of environment, health and consumer protection at Durham County Council said: ‘We take all reports of rat infestations very seriously and although we do not believe there is a persistent problem in this area, we would be happy to investigate should we receive further information.’