Powys Council has been urged to reinstate its pest control service after a member claimed to have seen a rise in rat sightings.

Matthew Dorrance, the Labour leader on the council, asked for the service to be reinstated, after it was axed six years ago as part of budget cuts within the council.

The Brecon councillor said: "Lots of people have contacted me to tell me about problems with rats in residential areas in Brecon.

“As Powys Council does not operate a pest control service, the only option for residents is to hire a private contractor to deal with the problem but far too many people can’t afford the cost.

“Pests can carry diseases, cause damage to property and problems will only get worse if left untreated.

“I’ve asked the council to recognise that scrapping the service was a mistake and put it right by re-introducing a pest control service.”

But in response, councillor James Evans, Powys County Council's cabinet member for environmental health, said the cost of running the service had become unsustainable.

“The decision to withdraw the pest control service was made by Council in March 2014 as part of the budget reductions agreed for 2014/15," he said.

"I note your comments that the service was important for public health although you acknowledge that it is not a statutory service. Prior to its cessation, the service was operating at a substantial cost to the council which was not sustainable.

"Given the Council’s current financial situation there is no scope to reinstate a service that operated at a loss.

“There are also a number of local companies who carry out this work and for residents with concerns to contact them. Having said this, the council’s environmental protection service will investigate complaints of vermin on land and will take enforcement action as appropriate.

"Any complaints should be directed to environmental.protection@powys.gov.uk.”