Photograph: Inquisitive looking mouse

Hamelin looking for a new Pied Piper to tackle rats

28/05/2012

The German town of Hamelin is in search of a new Pied Piper after suffering adverse effects from a new rat infestation.

The town is well known across the world for the legend of the Pied Piper, who mysteriously hypnotised the town’s plague of rats in 1284, leading them to drown in the River Weser.

Officials in the Lower Saxony town have said that rats are back and causing public problems, the most noticeable of which has been chewing through a cable that powers a prominent public fountain.

It is not the first time in recent years that the town has suffered a recurrence of the historic rodent problem. In 2008, an allotment site outside the town became overrun with rats due to discarded food and rubbish being dumped there.

While the town is looking to take pest control measures against the rats, fixing the fountain is not a priority, as it has frequently been blocked by leaves and detritus and is a chore to maintain.

The town has said that they will be more generous with a modern pest controller that their ancestors were with the Pied Piper. The fairytale written by the Brothers Grimm on the enigmatic character describes how, after he was not paid for his work clearing the rats, he returned to the town and hypnotised and kidnapped all of the local children.