RATS are thriving across the UK due to milder winters, experts have warned.

National trade body, British Pest Control Association (BPCA), said the pest’s population has been increasing year on year.

Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA technical manager, said: “Rat infestations can have a devastating impact on personal wellbeing.

“Aside from the health risks, the sound of them scuttling around the home, the evidence of their presence and the damage they can cause do little to help householders sleep easy.

“In the past, harsh winters were a natural method of culling those numbers. Milder winters in recent years have helped rat populations thrive, which is where professional pest control comes in.

“Rats are hard-wired to survive. "They are adaptable, highly mobile and breed rapidly. As a result, rodent control can be an uphill task for the untrained individual.

“For any rat infestation, we would always recommend contacting a professional pest management company, a member of BPCA.

“They are trained in rodent control and will have access to a range of professional-use rodenticides and tools, which are not available to the public."

BPCA recommends homes or businesses in Evesham with a problem should call in a qualified pest controller who will implement an integrated approach.

Attempts by householders and businesses to tackle rat problems themselves can pose risks to public health and the environment as dead rodents need to be disposed of in a safe manner and poorly placed poisons or traps can pose a danger to other animals, children and pets.

BPCA has a strong warning to anyone using rodenticides – always follow the instructions on the label, and importantly search for and dispose of any dead rodents in a safe manner.