RATS at Ballymoney’s Riverside Park are so tame they are approaching people in search of food, it has been claimed.
A concerned local woman said half-a-dozen of the rodents came within feet of her young family as they fed ducks in the park on Thursday.
So disgusted by the experience the woman - who did not want to be named - vowed not to return to the council-owned park until the reported rodent problem is tackled.
“Myself and a couple of friends decided to take our children down to feed the ducks at Riverside Park,” she told the Times.
“The kids were throwing bread into the water for the ducks and all of a sudden six or seven rats came across from the island to where we were standing.
“They were so tame they came within three or four feet of us and were taking bread and crisps the children were throwing down.
“We were totally shocked, it’s disgusting.
“I know when you have rivers and ponds you will get rats but there is obviously a problem when you have so many.”
She added: “We would go to the Riverside Park quite often and this isn’t the first time I’ve seen rats.
“Something needs to be done. This is supposed to be a place for local people to go and families to use.
“I won’t be back until action is taken.”
Proposals are currently being considered by Ballymoney Borough Council regarding an extensive revamp and clean-up of the park to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds but it is not yet known when the work will begin.
Independent Ballymoney councillor Roma McAfee appealed for anyone who comes across rodents in the area to contact the council.
“I was deeply concerned to hear that rats were running freely around an area where children play regularly,” she said.
“Other parents have claimed in the past that they’ve seen rats there before but no-one’s ever provided any evidence.
“At least we will see some movement to address the many problems at the Riverside Park in the near future.
“It was neglected for so long that it’s not surprising that issues such as this have arisen.
“I would encourage anyone who does see rats in the area or even anywhere else to contact the council’s Environmental Health Department immediately.”
A spokesperson for Ballymoney Borough Council said they had received no complaints about rats at Riverside Park.
The spokesperson said if a problem was highlighted action would be taken to address it with the necessary pest control procedures put into force.