A YOUNG Garda and mother of two is facing a €2,000 repair bill after her car was invaded by rats who gnawed their way through seats and interior fittings and then defied both traps and poison.
Laura Sweetnam (30) from Macroom in Cork was horrified to realise rodents had somehow managed to get into her car when she spotted rat droppings as she was strapping her toddler into the back seat to collect her oldest son from school.
Laura, who is terrified of rats, initially thought the debris on the back seat of her 2008 Renault Laguna was nothing more than crumbs and crisps left by her children and their friends.
"I was strapping my toddler, Daniel (2), into his seat to collect my older son, Evan (8), from school when I saw the damage," she said.
"I only realised what it was when I spotted the rat droppings. They were all over the back seat and on the floor."
The horrified mother immediately snatched her baby from the car.
A friend then helped her examine the car and they removed all the family's personal belongings.
Unfortunately, the drama erupted while Laura's husband, who is in the Naval Service, was at sea on routine duties.
Laura put some cheese on the floor of the car to see if her suspicion about a rat infestation problem was correct.
"When I went back to the car the following morning the cheese was gone and a potato had been gnawed in half."
"But I just couldn't understand how they were getting in to the car."
Laura's friends came to her aid and they used eight rat traps and blocks of poison in a bid to get rid of the vermin.
But, the following day, the traps had been triggered with no sign of a dead rat and the blocks of poison had all mysteriously vanished.
"I would have been a little relieved if there had at least been one dead rat there but there was no sign of them. My car was left in a terrible state."