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West Belfast residents living in fear of rats as big as cats

Residents living between Belfast and Lisburn are being warned about an invasion of rats as big as cats.

Householders of a Co Antrim village say they have been invaded by giant rodents from the Mullaghglass dump, which is situated at Castlerobin on the outskirts of west Belfast.

The dump has provoked controversy since it opened in 2006, with residents complaining of infestations of flies and bad smells from the site.

Villagers claim that rats are adding to the problems.

Castlerobin Residents' Association Chairperson Margaret McCroskery described the rats as "almost the size of cats".

"My dogs have killed a couple of them around the house," she said. "I wouldn't go out unless I have the dogs with me. "They don't even fear the dogs, they put a fight up with them. People here are afraid for their health and for their young children."

A spokeswoman for Alpha Resource Management, operators of the Mullaghglass Landfill site, said: "Since the site opened at the end of November 2006 rats have not been a problem on site. During the Christmas and new year period the local residents have not been in touch with the company regarding any problems with rats.

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"The management take the concerns of local residents very seriously and would encourage them to contact us directly regarding this problem."

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