A pensioner is calling for action as a lake near his home is blighted by rats. 

John Harding, who lives in Corby Crescent in Oakwood, said the rat population near Boxer’s Lake is booming.

The 66-year-old, who has lived in his home for 30 years, has noticed more and more of the vermin in the lake over the last five years and believes it is time for Enfield Borough Council to take action.

He sees rats by the lake – which is a two-minute walk from his house, most days but claims the situation is worsening and they often roam into his back garden.

He said: “It has got worse, but it has been going on for years. To be quite frank, it would be nice if the council tidied all the area around the lake.

“When we first moved here, people would come out from town to have a picnic but the lake to sit on the grass, it was nice. But now, the grass has all gone so it is just a lot of mud.”

He said the rat problem has put him off from visiting the lake as much as he would like to, as it is not pleasant to come into contact with the creatures.

He is concerned people in the area could contract the sometimes fatal Weil’s disease – which is passed from rats to people by water, if the infestation is not addressed.

He believes the rats are attracted by people leaving bread for Canada Geese in the lake and frequently sees large piles of bread dumped in the area – up to 20 loaves, which he believes are left by a shop.

Although he said many people in the street try their best to keep the rats at bay by keeping their gardens tidy, he said takeaways and rubbish left daily by the water is taking its toll. 

Although he is used to the vermin, he was shocked when he saw three rats huddled together by the lake two weeks ago in the middle of the day.

Mr Harding said the council fenced off parts of the north bank several years ago which provide “safe havens” for the rats by allowing brambles and weeds to grow unchecked.

He also said birds have eaten the grass surrounding the lake, leaving the area muddy, and trees are in need of hacking back as they are hanging too close to the ground.

Although he is yet to alert the council, he believes urgent action should be taken to address the overgrown trees and brambles as well as dispose of rubbish.