Court hears concerns about 'rat infestation' in Holywood

Court hears concerns about 'rat infestation' in Holywood

A MAN has been fined £500 for failing to comply with a Council order to 'eradicate' what is referred to on a court charge sheet as an 'infestation of rodents' at a house at Church Avenue in Holywood.

Vincent Murray, who a prosecutor told Newtownards Magistrates' Court, is a 70-year-old retired architect, was charged in relation to April 20 last year.

The defendant was convicted in his absence at court.

When District Judge Amanda Brady was shown documents connected with the case she said: "I hope there are no photographs of the rats".

The prosecutor said it had been a "long-running" issue which involves the defendant "allowing his property in Holywood to fall into a dilapidated condition".

He said "windows were broken" and there were "waste and rats".

The court was told there were concerns in the neighbourhood about the risk posed by the rodents.

The court heard an Abatement Notice was served in April last year asking for the property to be fixed up and a baiting programme put in place to get rid of rodents but that had not been done.

The defendant was then convicted in October last year of breaching that notice and was fined £200 and ordered to pay costs of £200; court fees of £22 and an 'offender levy'.

The prosecutor said the problems were not dealt with and when an Environmental Health Officer visited, the court heard, the defendant said he "intended to do" the work but on further occasions no one answered the doors and the works had not been carried out.

The prosecutor said the court had the power to impose daily fines until the work is done.

The prosecutor said it was believed the defendant lives in the property as he answers the door on occasions.

He said at the previous court case in October, when the defendant had legal representation, reference had been made to the defendant being a 70-year-old retired architect with "health issues".

The Council "keep getting complaints from neighbours," the latest court hearing heard.

The defendant was fined £500; ordered to pay £200 costs and £34 court costs along with a £15 'offender levy'.