Rats are on the rise in Cornwall, according to figures released by Cornwall Council, with the number of rats being reported by the public up by close to 50 per cent in the past 12 months.

Complaints went up from 206 in 2012-2013 to 304 between 2013-2014, and comes after the authority ended free pest control service for domestic premises in 2011.

Questions have been ask about whether the loss of the service has had an impact on rodent numbers, however Kev Brader, a senior environmental health officer at Cornwall Council, told the BBC that the number of pest complaints received should be compared against the number of service requests received prior to the reduction in the service.

Adding that in 2009-2010 the council received 806 service requests when the council provided a free pest control service in domestic premises, with a reduction in complaints of roughly 60 per cent since 2010.

Mr Brader said: "There are a number of factors to consider, including weather and human behaviour like using bird feeders and securing rubbish properly."