BINMEN across the West End have hit out at the amount of vermin in the area’s back courts.

Cleansing workers insist rat numbers are on the rise since lockdown measures began last year, with “more and more sightings” occurring.

Staff emptying bins from flats on Woodlands Road spotted a “handful” of the creatures, most of which were dead, in back courts around the area.

GMB Union’s branch 40 has called on Glasgow City Council to help tackle the issue – which they claim is becoming more prevalent despite local authority data to the contrary – by investing more in the service.

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Chris Mitchell, branch convenor, said: “As workers and the public, we are really concerned about the mass population of rats in the city.

“We need to take action right away on this very serious issue that is a threat to the health and safety of cleansing workers and the public.

“We must now start to defend ourselves and the communities against this disease.”

He added: “The best way to stop this is to invest in cleansing and reintroduce the back court teams.”

As previously reported, figures show a decline in vermin sightings – despite Glasgow being declared the fourth highest rat population in the UK. GMB officials believe lockdown has caused a spike in rats being spotted away from the city centre.

A council spokesman said: “As far as we are aware, no information has been provided by the GMB on where this incident is claimed to have taken place.

“We are, however, surprised that the GMB’s cleansing convener is advocating outsourcing public resources for the maintenance of private property such as back courts.

“This at a time when the cleansing service continues to be affected by the on-going covid crisis with restrictions on the use of vehicles and depots.’

“If the GMB’s cleansing convener is serious about protecting staff safety then the best thing he can do is help to ensure any encounter with a rat infestation is reported back to supervisors.

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“If crews do not provide feedback on infestations then it is impossible for supervisors to action a response from our public health team as well as the owners and factors of the property concerned.

“We are not currently aware of any recent reports of such infestations in the Woodlands area.”