Mouse and rat infestations are on the rise in Hull.

There was a huge increase in the number of rodents spotted during the first coronavirus lockdown leading to fears of greater numbers being reported heading into winter.

Residents are being urged to look out for signs of infestations as they look to find their way to shelter as the weather takes a turn for the worse.

In spring, British Pest Control Association (BPCA) members reported a 51 per cent hike in rodent activity while 78 per cent of pest controllers polled reported increased rat sightings in particular.

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Sixty three per cent also alerted to a rise in mouse-related incidents.

During the first lockdown, a huge rat "the size of a small dog" was spotted in a north Hull garden.

The large rodent appeared in a garden off Endike Lane amid warnings from experts that British homes could be exposed to hungry rats looking for food following the closure of restaurants during lockdown.

The mum, who lived at the property, described being "absolutely shocked" at the sight of it.

In September, Hull residents living near a Hedon Road supermarket said they were "frightened" at the sight of a rat infestation near them.

Overflowing rubbish can attract rats
Overflowing rubbish can attract rats

One neighbour says the "rat man" has begun visiting her home on a weekly basis in a desperate bid to provide pest control for the creatures.

Now a national trade body is urging householders and businesses in Hull to be on the look-out for signs of an infestation as rats and mice head indoors for winter - an issue that could be made worse by lockdown and forthcoming tiered restrictions.

Natalie Bungay, BPCA technical officer, said: “As temperatures begin to drop and food becomes scarce, rats will begin looking for shelter and scraps in more urban locations. And as autumn and winter push on, rats start to head indoors.

“Rats and mice do not hibernate and are a problem all year round. House mice are already living in and around wherever we are. But as the weather gets colder, field mice currently surviving outdoors will look for warmer places to nest and begin to move indoors too.

“They are highly adaptable and won’t hesitate to take advantage of a warm place to nest during the winter months.”

Rodents and many other pests carry and transmit diseases and can breed at an alarming rate if left unattended.

They can also contaminate food, ruin stock and can even cause fires and floods with their gnawing.