RAT infestations are plaguing gardens on a Darlington street with residents saying the rodents are affecting their lives.

Auckland Avenue, off West Auckland Road in the north of the town, is a tight-knit community with residents often happy to chat to each other about the topics of the day.

But one subject that continues to crop up in conversation is the issue of rats in their gardens and destroying their property.

Residents say the issue originated from a neighbour who was fined more than £800 for continually accumulating household rubbish in the garden of her property - which contributed to a rat infestation in the local area.

Yet two-and-a-half years later the rats still terrorise residents, chewing holes in bins and burrowing through sheds.

Resident Liz Robinson says she has spent “hundreds of pounds” on rat poison to tackle the issue.

She said the housing provider the Railway Housing Association had sent out a pest controller to remove the rats but they continued to return.

“We keep on seeing rats all the time over and over again. They’re creating holes and tunnels or we are finding them dead on the ground,” she said.

“The last five months have been horrendous. I am absolutely petrified of them.”

The rats have caused so much damage to sheds in garden’s along the street that residents are now dismantling them to prevent further destruction.

Liz added: “I am now the third person on this street who has had to get rid of the huts in their garden because of a rat problem. They gnawed through the wood and were coming in and shredding bags up.

“The woman a few doors down has been to hell and back. There was a woman opposite me at the back who had to get rid of her shed and eventually moved out, and I am sure it was because of a rat problem.

“The Railway are saying ‘it’s not our problem anymore’ but that stinks. It’s not on.

“Every one is suffering because of this.”

Read more: Housing estate has become a 'dangerous' eyesore

The Northern Echo: Auckland Avenue, Darlington, where residents have complained of rat issues for over two yearsAuckland Avenue, Darlington, where residents have complained of rat issues for over two years

Neighbour Mark Wrangham has created his own traps in a bid to crackdown on the rodents.

“I am finding two to three rats a day,” he added.

His rehab from recent back surgery has been hampered by his constant work to remove the rats and he says his garden is now covered with traps and poison.

In response to residents concerns, housing provider the Railway Housing Association said it was working with Darlington Borough Council to address the issue.

A spokesman added: “We are aware that there is an issue with rats in the area and we are always grateful when our residents bring matters like this to our attention.

“It’s something we are taking very seriously and we have contacted pest control at Darlington Borough Council to see what can be done to address the situation.

“We encourage all residents to put waste sacks in their wheelie bins and to ensure to that any excess waste is not left on the ground where it can attract pests.”

Steve Todd, environmental health manager at the council, added: “We offer a pest control treatment service in domestic properties and gardens.

“The householder is welcome to contact the team to discuss any concerns so we can work out the most effective way of dealing with such issues.”

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated Darlington Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054