Rats have taken over Muswell Hill. And we're not just talking about the clowns from Haringey Council who dumped those confidential documents a few months back. No, these are the genuine deal, the scurrying little beggars themselves, all brown of fur and sharp of claw.
Residents in N10 have spotted sewer rats (species:Rattus evillus) ambling along Dukes Avenue and the Broadway, putting fear and terror into the hearts of locals without so much as a by-your-leave. They've even been sighted in the car park of local charity The Hornsey Trust. It's thought that the rats are crawling out of their chthonic lair by means of a broken pipe.
Clearly fans of the lyrical prowess displayed by Ali Campbell and his much-lamented UB40 heyday, Muswell Hillians have vowed to fix that rat, that's what they're going to do. More specifically, they're going to get somebody else to fix it - a squadron of pest controllers are on the case. Thames Water are also chipping in by laying bait in drains around the area.
It's not the first time that Banksy's favoured muse has been made to feel unwelcome recently. In March a Woolwich resident was disturbed whilst sitting on the toilet by a rat that climbed up through her U-bend. That poor critter met a sticky end. Still, we can hardly blame the wee beasties for wanting to make friends - we are in the Chinese Year of the Rat after all, and in April we celebrated World Rat Day. Their confusion is perhaps understandable.
Maybe we should make our feral friends feel more welcome now that they've decided to ditch their underground haunts for the bright lights of the surface?
Image courtesy of gynti_46's Flickrstream