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The ongoing problem of rats at Doctor's Pond and along the River Marden in Calne was clear to see yesterday evening when we spied this fat rat helping himself to dinner.

The area has a history of problems with rats, and despite the Environmental Health team running a regular baiting program, the rats continue to live and breed.

Many parents enjoy taking their children to feed the ducks from the bridge, however, there are often large amounts of bread left uneaten by the ducks and this provides the perfect food source for the rats. In the past, residents have raised concerns over the possibility of Weil's Disease there.

Weil's disease is a form of a bacterial infection also known as Leptospirosis that is carried by animals, most commonly in rats and cattle. It can be caught by humans through contact with rat urine, most commonly occurring through contaminated fresh water.

One resident told Calne News: "You can see rats most days, if you can't see them running around or hear them in the grass, you tend to find bodies left by the local cat population. It is a worry especially during the nicer weather when the local children like to come and enjoy the river, they could pick up something nasty.

Some people think they are water rats, but they aren't; they are Brown Rats and they carry disease."

With the annual Duck Race scheduled for 11th May this year, it would be a good time to remember to seek alternatives to bread when feeding the ducks. Some alternatives include: lettuce, oats and seeds. Not only are these alternatives less enticing for rats, they are more healthy for our duck population.

Calne News have approaced Wiltshire Environmental Health for comment.