Rats spotted in Old Town after bins not emptied for two weeks

Ian McKinna from the High Street, whose bins haven't been emptied for a fortnight. Picture: Toby Williams

Ian McKinna from the High Street, whose bins haven't been emptied for a fortnight. Picture: Toby Williams

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RATS and overflowing rubbish have taken over a historic city close – due to missed bin collections.

Residents near Bailie Fyfe’s Close on the High Street insist their communal bin hasn’t been emptied in more than two weeks.

Iain McKinna, who owns Offbeat recording studio, said the problem has got so bad that rats can now be spotted scurrying through the narrow passage.

He said he had repeatedly called the council to report the problem – but it still hadn’t been sorted.

The 61-year-old added: “There are rats running around – there are tourists walking down that close and that’s what they are seeing.

“I’ve contacted the council every day now for the last few weeks, and my wife has as well. Nothing has happened. We are just basically getting blocked at every turn. We are now just getting completely ignored.

“It’s disgusting. My next-door neighbour said he came out early one morning and there were rats running through the close. It stinks as well – it’s a health hazard.

“We don’t know what else to do about it. All the neighbours have been in touch with the council. They just keep kicking the can down the road.

“It’s been over two weeks – right through the Festival period.”

Pictures taken by the Evening News at the end of last week show the extent of the problem.

Bursting bags are piled up beside the overflowing bin, which is in the courtyard at the bottom of the close, while the lid is jammed open with rubbish.

A council spokeswoman insisted they were working “extremely hard” to sort ongoing issues.

She said: “The council is absolutely committed to delivering the best possible services we can for the people of Edinburgh.

“We fully appreciate how frustrating missed bin collections can be for residents and we’re working extremely hard to make significant improvements across the board – to our systems, our staff training, our facilities and more.”

Bailie Fyfe’s Close dates from as early as 1572, and is one of many historic closes within Edinburgh’s Old Town.

The wider area has been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1995.