FEES charged for rodent control in Richmondshire are to remain, despite the decision by a neighbouring authority to scrap them.

Hambleton District Council introduced charges for its rat-catching service on April 1 this year - but has already agreed to drop them as too many people were trying to avoid the fee by dealing with pest problems themselves.

But Richmondshire District Council has indicated it is unlikely to follow suit as it has no evidence of a similar trend developing since its charges for domestic pest control were introduced in April last year.

Head of commercial health John Jamieson said: "Our fee is a one-off payment for each case, no matter how many times we have to come back to deal with a problem.

"Besides, we often find all residents need is help and advice - and that comes free of charge. "Of course, there was some reluctance when the fees were first introduced but we were in a position where we had to ask the public if they wanted a service or not; it is an unfortunate reality of life that, if they do want the service then they have to pay for it.

"Besides, most people have realised that what we offer is often a great deal cheaper than services that are available elsewhere."