Caterpillar infestation will be treated: Rother

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A SIDLEY dad who complained about caterpillar infestation was “livid” a week later when still no action had been taken.

Gary Canham, of Watermill Lane, told an environmental health officer his six-year-old daughter suffered an allergic reaction from coming into contact with brown tail moth caterpillars (pictured).

She had swellings to her hand, arm, neck and face having played with one of the creatures.

Brown tail moth caterpillars are covered in hairs, which can trigger severe breathing difficulties if inhaled.

Gary discovered “hundreds if not thousands” of them in the bush near their home.

He was stunned when his complaint was followed by days of both Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council apparently passing the buck and claiming it was down to the other.

Gary then had a call from an ESCC inspector who admitted responsibility, but said that nothing would be done because of cost of pesticides, keeping the public away from the immediate area, and likelihood the caterpillars would return.

“It is just incredible really,” Gary told the Observer.

However by mid-week RDC decided to come to the rescue and treat the problem though it is technically not on its land.

A spokesman said: “We recognise that brown tail moth caterpillars can cause problems for residents at this time of year.

“Where they are found on publicly-owned land, Rother will treat them as necessary, however, when they are on privately owned property, there will be a charge for this service.

 “In this instance, the hedge is owned by the county council, and Rother will be treating it on their behalf as soon as weather conditions permit, as the treatment requires extensive spraying and this cannot be done in windy conditions.

 “Brown tail moth caterpillars are widespread at this time of year and we would ask residents to be mindful of the hazards they can pose and take great care not to touch them.”

Told the news, Gary said: “Blimey. That’s brilliant.”