HEREFORD neighbours say they are living a “rat infestation nightmare” as the rodents run riot in empty homes.

Many of the prefab bungalows along Beattie Avenue in Hereford have been vacated to allow the 41 properties to be demolished and replaced with 71 new homes.

But Herefordshire Housing tenants say rats are spreading through the boarded-up properties, burrowing under the occupied homes and entering their gardens in search for food.

“It’s a nightmare,” Julie Dutton said. “We can hear them running under the floorboards at night.

“They’ve burrowed under the concrete ramp. It’s such a stressful situation.”

Mrs Dutton also fears her six-month-old puppy might become ill and die due to rat droppings and urine left in her garden.

She has been told to not leave food out for the birds.

“We never used to have a problem when the homes were occupied. But now we can see rats in the daylight.

“They should put down traps in the gardens of the empty bungalows.”

The rats were so bold Julie was even able to take a picture of them in a garden in broad daylight.

A Herefordshire Housing press officer said they are working to address their customers’ concerns.

“We have been working with pest control agencies who have provided us and our customers with safety advice to support them and alleviate their concerns, specific to their circumstances,” she said.

“Mr and Mrs Dutton’s specific fears were around rats and their puppy becoming ill, we hope we have helped alleviate this fear now.

“Our customer account manager regularly visits Beattie Avenue and is in regular communication with the customers in that area. We are working through the final tender process for the development and once concluded we will be able to provide start dates for the work to begin.”