While Europe is attempting to avoid World War Three, a war is already taking place in the UK – between a great-granddad and rats the size of human babies.
Derek Blamire has been battling against 18-inch rats that appear to have taken over his back garden.
And the 82-year-old, who claims they've been coming from open spare land near his home for the last seven years, has now set up poisoned traps – and caught 50 of them in the last few years.
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One of the beasts he caught was around 18-inches, he claimed.
A stomach-churning snap shows Derek wielding a litter picker with the monster rat in its claw, which others have compared to the size of small dog.
Blackburn-based Derek said: “It was quite big, from nose to tail it was about 18 inches long. It was the length of a small baby.
“It'd been knocking about for a few weeks.
“I've lived here for about seven years and I've caught over 50. Sometimes I poison them, sometimes I catch them in a trap.
“If they keep coming, I'll keep catching them. I'm not going to give up.”
However, it also emerged that Derek could be the one attracting the rats to his land. For the keen gardener said he believes the rats living on the spare land next to his garden are attracted by the food he puts out for the birds.
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“I feed the birds you see and if you feed the birds it's obvious rats are going to turn up – there's probably more rats than people,” he admitted.
“Rats breed pretty quickly, there are small ones, which are young ones, and the older ones.
“The young ones are pretty easy to catch but the older ones are really crafty, they won't go in the trap and they won't eat the poison so you're lucky to catch one.”
Derek ends up embroiled in a lengthy game of cat and mouse, laying traps for the critters to scurry into which the older wily ones avoid – choosing instead to feast from the bird table.
To tackle this problem, Derek stops feeding the birds temporarily to lure the hungry ones into his trap.
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He said: “I see the rats on the bird table, they can climb up anything, they're quick as well. As soon as you see them they're off.
"I stop feeding the birds for a week so the rats are a bit hungry so it's easier to catch them.
"I hadn't put food out for the birds for a week, it was hungry so it went in the trap after I put a bit of cooked chicken in it.
"I had a pellet gun and I did one shot to it and that was it.
"I've not seen any for a few days but they'll be back. They might disappear for a couple of weeks and then all of a sudden they come back."
Unimpressed partner Sylvia said she was “scared” by Derek's find.
“I was in the bungalow and Derek was outside, I thought he must have been in the garden,” she recalled.
"He said 'come out with your phone I've got something to show you'. When I opened the door he was stood on the doorstep with that litter picker in his hand. It scared me to death."
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