PEOPLE living next door to a derelict, rat-infested house are calling for action to stop it turning into a potential health hazard.

The three-bedroom house, in Martin Avenue, Evesham, has been empty for about three years. Rotting household items left behind by former residents and a severely overgrown garden have combined to make it a haven for vermin.

Neighbour Calvin Crossman says he is scared for the safety of his children with the disease-carrying rodents nearby.

Mr Crossman said: “There has been raw sewage and a rat infestation. I cleared stuff out the front garden into the back but it’s rotting and becoming smelly. Last week I put traps out and in one day they caught four rats. I won’t let my kids in the back garden.

They could get a killer disease.”

Mr Crossman said the house became empty after the previous owner died. The neighbours have tried to find out who owns the property but with no success, meaning it has fallen quickly into disrepair.

“The house ended up being repossessed and it has been empty since,” said Mr Crossman.

“They are building all these new houses – why don’t they do something with old houses?

“I would like to move but I won’t be able to sell the house until something is done.”

Doreen Farmer, aged 82, said the rats were causing a major problem. “Something needs to be done. I have had to ring the police and the fire brigade when there have been water problems. It must have devalued my house,” she said.

The Environment Agency has been contacted and the matter is now being investigated.

Steve Jorden, head of regulatory services at Wychavon District Council, said: “This service and partner agencies have legal powers to insist rectification work is carried out on properties where a statutory nuisance or property defect has been identified.

We will be exploring these options to assist those residents who are experiencing problems caused by this property.”