Woman blamed for rat problem: “I have never seen a rat in my garden in almost 30 years.”

A WOMAN who has been labelled a recluse and blamed for some of the rat problem alongside the river at West End in March has hit back at her critics, claiming she is not reclusive, and she has never seen a rat in her garden.

Alison Hains - who has lived in Swan Cottage at 11B West End for almost 30 years - said: “I am not a recluse, but I don’t know the people in the immediate area. I don’t know these people from Adam, and they don’t know me.”

“I have never seen a rat in my garden. There is a colony of water voles on the opposite bank, and there are people who think they are rates, but they are not. Of course you get the odd rat, but the bin bags in my garden have been here for six days, and nothing has been nibbled. If there were rats lurking, they would have had a nibble by now.”

Earlier this year, nearby residents drew up a petition calling on Fenland District Council to take action on the rat problem, which they believed was centred on Alison’s home.

Alison said: “To sign a petition of that nature when they have no knowledge of the person involved, or the true nature of the situation, is despicable.

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“I would like to thank Mr Summerlin for taking the time to write to the newspaper expressing his concerns regarding truth, facts and fairness. He is living proof that there is still some decent people out there.”

Alison is locked in a legal battle with a neighbour over land alongside the river, she claims her garden has been taken over and a fence erected just feet from her windows.

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“It is like the Black Hole of Calcutta in my home,” she said. “Sometimes I have to pull the curtains and put the light on, if I want to read or write. I have never seen rats in my garden; they cannot transport themselves a la Star Trek without being in someone else’s garden, because I am totally hemmed in.”

Alison says she has spent thousands of pounds fighting for possession of her garden, and a boxed garden bench and planter are still alongside her home, waiting for the time she can use them.

Alison says the state of her home has suffered because of her legal expenses, an upstairs window is still boarded up and she has been unable to repair her river jetty

“This has been a living hell,” said Alison. “I am going through legal channels and I have been promised by a solicitor and a barrister that I am going to get my home back.”

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