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Call for action after Moffat rat sightings

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By Christie Breen
Call for action after Moffat rat sightings

RATS have been spotted going in and out of the abandoned Mercury Inn in Moffat.

Since closing in 1999, a string of local campaigns have failed to see the eyesore inn demolished.

Now the reports of rats have infuriated Moffat residents who are calling for Dumfries and Galloway Council to take action.

Taking to social media this week, one concerned resident said: “More reason why the old Mercury building needs flattened, but for whatever reason it’s not been yet. We are a tourist town and it looks awful when the coaches come into the mill and we have rodents scurrying around. It makes the place look filthy.”

Mercury campaigner turned community councillor Mick Barker made it his mission to get action at the derelict hotel nine months ago, but after council officials gave up on applying pressure to the site’s owner in March, Mick is not surprised the situation is deteriorating.

He said: “There’s nothing good to say about the Mercury situation and its potential for vermin infestation.

“When we originally raised the issue of the Mercury with the council, we said that there were various issues that needed addressing by the owners, there were a few things on the list, one thing was that there could be vermin on the site. The building is slowly deteriorating, it’s damp and there are various points of entry for vermin. Add into that the very short distance from the building to the park with the closest corner of the park being the children’s play area.

“Now we’re getting reports and sightings and we are asking people to provide photographic evidence and we want to alert people to the issue.

“I will say that it is reports thus far, but we are concerned about it.

“I really would like the council to do something without needing this shot in the arm, because it should be evident to them by the status of the building that they need to be more creative than they have been in getting the owners to deal with this.”

In response to growing concerns, a council spokesperson yesterday said: “A pest control officer worked with a small number of properties in late 2021 to eradicate an isolated problem within this locality. Recommendations to refrain from feeding wild birds until the matter was under control were made and where there was evidence of rats inside dwellings, occupants were advised not to consume food which may have become contaminated.

“The Vacant and Derelict Land and Property Strategy highlights Dumfries and Galloway Council’s commitment to work with property owners and local communities to identify opportunities to promote sustainable uses for abandoned sites. Officers continue to liaise with a range of stakeholders to enable development of the former Mercury Hotel site, with regular updates being provided to the local community.”

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