RATS have been spotted at a fly-tipping blackspot where residents believe people have been dumping rubbish for up to 20 years.

The pile of rubbish, which includes old rubbish and garden waste, was spotted by former town councillor, Maria Mackness, while door knocking in March.

Since then she says she has put in five calls to get the pile removed by Herefordshire Council contractors, Balfour Beatty - but the rubbish heap remains unmoved.

And people living nearby say it is an ongoing problem, which has been unresolved for nearly two decades.

Mrs Mackness said: “In talking to local residents I discovered that this spot has been used for fly-tipping for the past 19 years.

“It is a patch of grass where children play.

“It can be accessed from a pathway in Hazle Close and from Martins Way through Katherines Walk.

“One of the residents in Hazle Close dated it from when she moved in to her house.

“The rubbish has established brambles growing through it.

“Dog walkers in the area have told me they have seen rats in it.”

Mrs Mackness says she put the first call into Herefordshire Council to report the fly-tipping on March 1.

Mrs Mackness, who is the chairman of the Ledbury and District Labour Party said: “When I first rang on 1 March I was told that they have a duty to clear rubbish within five working days so I gave them longer and rang back on March 13 and was told the job had been cancelled so they had to reinstate it again.

“The latest news is that the access to it is difficult, the street cleansing team will need to get in special tools to do it and that they hope to clear it by the end of the month.”

The area is believed to be attractive to fly-tippers because it is open scrubland and relatively accessible.

If rats do prove to be present at the location, it won’t be the first time that rats have been a problem in Ledbury in recent years.

In June 2015, uncut long grass along a stream, due to Herefordshire Council cuts, was blamed for a rat infestation in Browning Road, on the New Mills estate.

And in the summer of 2017, cooking lessons ended early at the John Masefield High School after animal droppings and an injured rat were found in a food storage area.