Britain’s rat population is spiralling out of control because inexperienced owners who bought them as pets during lockdown have let them overbreed, the RSPCA has warned.

The charity said that it was at “breaking point” trying to care for hundreds of abandoned rats, mice, guinea pigs and rabbits who have been handed in since the pandemic.

The RSPCA reported that the number of rats and mice arriving in its care over the past two years had risen by 193 per cent and 191 per cent respectively.

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