A GLASGOW street has been turned into a no-go zone for cleansing workers – after an invasion of giant rats.

Union bosses have ordered refuse removal teams not to enter the back courts of properties on Earl Street in Scotstoun after they were overrun by vermin the size of small dogs.

But the move has angered residents who claim that the front of their homes is now an unsightly mess, with ugly bins positioned the length of the street.

They also say that rubbish collections are now only being carried out every three weeks – leaving them with the responsibility of having to find other places to dispose of their household waste if the bins are full.

Sam Whitehouse, 70, has lived in the area for 40 years and says he has never seen the street in such a state.

Clydebank Post: Sam with wife June and neighbour Elizabeth SteadSam with wife June and neighbour Elizabeth Stead (Image: Gordon Terris)

He added: “It’s not on. People here are furious about this.

“We can’t have our bins left all over the place, it is unsightly and unhygienic practice to have these in front of our houses.

“I’ve seen rats out the back and there is a big problem with them, but surely all that this is only going to achieve is to attract them to the front instead? They are going to look for food wherever they can find it, I don’t see how moving where the bins are sited will act as a deterrent.”

Union bosses say that they are unwilling to compromise members’ safety as one worker described seeing scores of rats ‘the size of chihuahuas’ in the back courts.

Clydebank Post: Rats have invaded the street in ScotstounRats have invaded the street in Scotstoun (Image: Newsquest)

Chris Mitchell, GMB convenor for Glasgow’s cleansing workers, said: “I’ve been raising this issue for years and we’re still waiting on something being done. Our members’ health and wellbeing are being put at risk because the areas are now overrun by huge rats.

“Vermin have been known to bite and leave droppings all over the place. It’s only a matter of time before someone ends up ill because of this.

“Our members rightly feel that the issue needs to be sorted out and will not be stepping foot into the rear bin areas of Earl Street until the rat infestation is properly dealt with. There is an embankment that runs along the back of the properties where the rats nest, and that is what is causing the problem."

Sam, who is battling prostate cancer, says that a lack of collections is also putting undue pressure on elderly people to try and find somewhere to dispose of their waste.

He added: “We got letters through the door and I was upset by the tone of them, the language was very confrontational and the demands draconian in my opinion. We didn’t opt to move the bins or only have them emptied every three weeks, but now it looks like it has become the residents’ problem.

Clydebank Post: Sam with the letterSam with the letter (Image: Gordon Terris)

“The bins are lying for anyone to use; all sorts of things are just being stuffed into them by people walking past. We’ve now been told that if they are full, it is up to us to find somewhere else for our household rubbish to go. I’m elderly with a lot of health problems, I’m not fit to trapse around looking for a recycling point or a half-empty bin that doesn’t belong to me.

“I don’t believe the onus for this should be on tenants when I pay Council Tax for a regular and reliable refuse collection service.

Clydebank Post: The back courts are a no-go zoneThe back courts are a no-go zone (Image: Gordon Terris)

“We don’t want rats running around and we certainly don’t want big bins the length of the front street.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council says that they are aware of the issues and concerns.

They added: “We have been working with the local housing association to address this problem.

“Some bin courts in the area were previously in poor condition, but work has been undertaken to keep them in good order.

“While the bait laid down by our pest control team takes effect, bins have stationed on the street on a temporary basis.

“We are hopeful our pest control treatments at this location are having an impact but we will continue to monitor this situation closely.

“Once the pest problem has been dealt with, bins can be returned to the back court area and will be fully serviced by our staff.

“As part of our health and safety procedures, we would not send our bin collection staff into areas of known infestation.”