Where available, statistics across the county suggest that the rat menace is growing due to milder winters - and the council-sourced fiigures do not include additional call outs made to private pest controllers.

After years where sewer baiting looked to be tackling the problem, vermin numbers are back on the increase.

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Preston is one of the few local authorities which operate a free pest control service to households.

But budget cuts have seen the number of full-time staff halved from six to three.

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Others where rat infestations were a problem included Fishwick Parade (11 call-outs), Castleton Road (11), Robin Street 10), Tulketh Road (10) and Callon Street (nine).

South Ribble Council, which includes Leyland, Bamber Bridge, Lostock Hall and Penwortham, refused to reveal the numbers of pest control visits - fearing identifying problems streets could have an adverse effect on house prices.Once in they build nests in attics or walls and breed rapidly.With wheelie bins overflowing with household waste, especially over the Christmas and new year break, the visitors have had a plentiful supply of food to sustain them.“We’ve had abnormally mild conditions throughout the UK (in 2016) and that is likely to have led to an increase in the number of rats,” said Dee Ward-Thompson, technical manager of the BPCA.“Any cold snaps will drive them into buildings in search of shelter.“Their teeth don’t stop growing, so they need to gnaw to keep them short, said the spokesman.“In colder weather they are more likely to be found indoors as they seek shelter, where there is often easy access to lots of food for them too.“The council still has a small team of pest controllers, although over the last few years of continuing budget cuts the number of full-time staff has reduced from six to three.“We are one of the few remaining councils in Lancashire to offer a free at point of use rodent control service for domestic property.“Due to sewer baiting work part funded by United Utilities, rat numbers have been declining over recent years.Rat catchers made 25 visits to Blackpool Road and a further 15 to New Hall Lane during 2015/16, according to figures released by the city council in response to a Freedom of Information request.