RATS spotted near homes may have been attracted by food dropped by drunks.

Concern has been sparked over an increase in rats near Chester Road and Gladstone Street on a plot of overgrown wasteland.

Vale Royal borough councillor Brian Cooke blamed late night drinkers for dropping food on the streets and said planning chiefs were partly responsible for allowing so many takeaways on the main road through Castle and Greenbank.

"The problem is caused by takeaway waste food deposited on land by late night revellers and it obviously attracts rats," he said.

"I blame the borough council planners for allowing 14 takeaways on what I call takeaway mile with no consideration for the residents who have to put up with noise, smells and litter."

He said there was a particular problem with the patch of land next to the railway bridge where rubbish is often dumped.

"It's just a filthy, filthy area," he said.

Neville Plumb, from Chester Road, said: "I've lived here 40 odd years and it's never been this bad. I've had them rats three times in the past six months or so. "We've got grandchildren who come to visit us so it's not very pleasant for them."

Rupert Adams, from the borough council's environmental health department, said pest controllers were already working in the area.

They have contacted Network Rail about land near the railway bridge.

"When we get requests about rats it is routine work but it's not just about putting some rat poison down, it is about going beyond that and trying to find the source," he said.

Residents who spot rats should call the council on 01606 867846 or 01606 867847.