Several weeks ago, I noticed a rat in my back garden. I contacted Stroud District Council who said that they could send a Pest Officer at a cost, payable in advance, of £90.

I paid, and a very pleasant and efficient gentleman subsequently visited to deal with the problem.

A few days after my call to the Council, my wife was travelling to Stroud on the bus when the driver had to brake to avoid a very large rat crossing Peghouse Rise 200 yards or so below our property.

Rats are a public health hazard and I wonder what would have happened if I had been unable or unwilling to pay the fee; presumably the rats would have been left to go forth and multiply to pose an ever increasing public threat.

Rats travel widely without regard for property boundaries and it is unfair and completely ineffective from a public health aspect to allocate to individual householders the cost of treating an infestation.

Rat infestation is a matter of public concern and should be paid for from public funds.

Peter Aldridge