A FATHER is calling for immediate action to tackle rat-infested dumped rubbish next to his family home.

Jonathan Rutter, 32, of Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff, says bags full of rubbish are left strewn in an alleyway by a Wimpy restaurant, which he lives next door to.

Items discarded include food remains, old sofas from other flats on the road and even needles and syringes.

Since January the dad-of-two has been speaking to both Southend Council and the restaurant owners about getting the rubbish removed.

But despite his pleas, bags are still being left regularly and Mr Rutter, who lives with his wife Kerry and sons James, six, and Riley, three, says rats have now started appearing, although Southend Council disputes this.

Some rubbish has also been chucked into his garden and MrRutter said he has had enough and wants it to be cleared up.

He said: “I think it is disgusting, and me and my partner have seen rats running around among the rubbish.

“It has got to the stage where we don’t want to let our sons play out in the garden because we fear they may become ill or play around in the rubbish.

“We are having to take them out to parks instead to get some outdoor activity, but it really shouldn’t have to be like this and it is not the same as using your own garden at home.”

Council bosses confirmed they are looking into the matter.

A spokeswoman said: “An officer has visited and formal action has been taken against the flat owner above the shop to remove some furniture and bags.

“A standard enforcement letter was issued on Tuesday to the property owner requiring the removal of the rubbish.

“This can be a lengthy formal process so the waste may remain in situ until we can undertake further legal action should the owner/occupier disregard the initial warning notice.

“The rubbish has not been deemed prejudicial to public health and no evidence of rats was found at that time.”

The Echo approached Wimpy for comment, but received no reply.