Luton Borough Council has reassured residents that it is undertaking a baiting programme in the town after a resident complained about the amount of rats he saw running along the streets.
The man, who does not wish to be named, said: “I have seen an increase in the number of rats n the town centre.
“I have seen them running along the streets in broad daylight, one was right outside the Town Hall and I saw others on the side street.
“This is disgusting and the council really needs to do something about it, people, particularly children, should not have to see rats running through the streets in broad daylight, something needs to be done.”
The council and Luton BID are carrying out the programme and Thames Water has responded to requests for mainline sewer baiting.
A spokesman for the council said: “While we understand that seeing rats during the day can be distressing, this is usually a positive sign that the bait is having an effect in the location since it decreases their natural fear of humans, which in turn makes them likely to venture into the public view far more than is normal.
“It is not unusual for rats to be found in a busy area with lots of food premises nearby.
“Unfortunately, when people drop unwanted food and litter on the ground, they are providing a constant source of food for the rodents. We would urge residents to dispose of their waste responsibly in the bins provided at all times.
“All businesses also have a duty with regards to the waste they produce, the Council has also brought a successful prosecution against an individual who was feeding pigeons.
“These pests, along with rats, forage for food, whether discarded deliberately or otherwise, which is why our officers respond decisively to antisocial behaviour that not only makes the town unattractive, but encourages vermin.”
The council provides free treatment for rats in residential/owner occupied premises.