THE number of rat infestations reported in Leigh more than trebled over the space of two years.

A freedom of information request found in 2017 there were 86 reports of rat infestations in the town, which increased to 278 in 2018 before rising to 295 in 2019.

Out of the reports last year, 150 were in the Leigh West ward, 91 were in Leigh South and the remaining 54 were in Leigh East.

Neighbouring towns Tyldesley and Atherton have also seen an influx in infestation reports.

In Tyldesley the number of rat reports went up by more than four times from 42 in 2017 to 173 last year.

There were 78 reports of rat infestations in Atherton in 2017, which rose to 157 in 2018 and fell slightly to 150 last year.

READ > Every Greater Manchester ward will get named neighbourhood bobby back on the beat, says mayor

In response to the figures, a Wigan Council spokesman said: “The small rise in the number of rat reports over the last three years can partly be attributed to improved reporting mechanisms and residents becoming more familiar with the support available to them and also a reduction in costs to the customer for treating rats.

“There are also instances when residents believe they may have a rat issue when instead it's mice, and the council is exploring how we can amend this within our recording practices.

“But residents are always advised to not leave open food out in the kitchen overnight, to clean up any outdoor food spillages and we would not encourage anyone to feed birds as this can also be attributable to attracting rats to domestic gardens and homes.

“We work closely with United Utilities and share reports and data to help identify hotspot areas, which allows us to deliver a robust sewer baiting programme assisting in the control of the rat population.”

For more advice on the council’s pest control services visit