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Report a rat problem


We offer a free pest control service for rat problems inside a residential property

Preston City Council is one of only three Lancashire district councils that provide free treatment for rats in homes.

The Council in partnership with United Utilities carries out regular baiting of sewers to help control rat populations and we target work in a particular area where we are aware of high rat numbers. After keeping areas free of rubbish and other food sources, this is the most effective way of controlling rat populations in cities.

For problems outside a property (e.g. garden, shed, detached garage), we recommend using an accredited, professional pest controller who is CRRU or wildlife aware accredited.

For pest controllers near you visit the British Pest Control Association - Find a Pest Controller.

Why are rats considered a pest?

Rats are considered a public health pest because they:

  • contaminate food intended for human consumption
  • carry diseases such as Leptospirosis (Weils Disease), Salmonella and Typhus (which can be fatal to people)
  • cause damage by gnawing, burrowing and digging

How to report a problem

To report a rat problem inside a property, you will need to book an appointment by completing our online form:

Report a rat problem


Appointments can be made for a pest control officer to arrive between the following hours Monday to Friday:


9am - 1pm


Midday - 4pm

What happens next?

A Pest Control Technician will visit your property to set a number of poisonous baits. These baits will be placed in tamper resistant boxes or open trays depending on location. Our technician will ensure all baits used are positioned as safely as possible.

Preparing for a visit

To ensure that rodents eat the poison, you should cover all bins and skips during treatment. Dog and cat food should also be removed after feeding pets and avoid feeding garden birds, as these are all food sources for rats. As rats require water, try to repair any leaks that you may have.

How long will treatment take?

Treatment can often take a number of weeks, as the baits usually require repeated takes from the rat(s) to be effective. This is due to the treatment matching rat feeding habits.

Follow up visits

Our technician will revisit your property every week until the infestation is cleared. Please ensure you are available at the address given for all booked appointments.

Safety around poison baits

It is important to keep children and pets away from poison. If you think a child or pet has eaten any bait, you should seek medical advice immediately from a vet or doctor. Take the advice sheet left by the pest controller with you. This provides details of the bait used.

Preventing re-infestation

Below are some ways in which you can help prevent further re-infestations:

  • avoid leaving food lying around either inside or outside your home
  • place all household rubbish in bins with tight fitting lid
  • keep bird food off the ground (or invest in a rat proof bird feeder)
  • do not store pet food in garages and sheds (or ensure that they are in galvanised containers) cover drain pipe ends with chicken wire to help prevent rats climbing into roof spaces
  • keep your garden tidy with short tidy vegetation to prevent rats nesting there
  • clear up fallen fruit from trees, leftover bird food and pet mess in your garden
  • check buildings for access holes and fix any broken air bricks or gaps round pipes
  • make sure gaps in walls and around pipes are closed as rats can get through a space as small as 10mm (½")

Rats in Preston

The rat population in Preston peaked in 2008, with over 1,400 requests for service received by us. Since then the number of requests for service has dropped slightly each year - possibly as a result of the increased sewer baiting activity of the pest control team.

Despite our efforts to reduce the population at large, the biggest reason for the problem persisting is rubbish, the amount of it and sometimes careless disposal of it. Whether it's deliberate or accidental littering, disease-carrying rodents thrive on it.

Commercial pest control issues

We only treat pests on commercial or industrial premises for businesses and organisations that have a contract with us.

All other businesses will need to contact a commercial pest control service. To find a commercial pest control service near you visit the British Pest Control Association - Find a Pest Controller.

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