Battle lines were drawn and drastic measures were being taken, the Daily Echo reported 100 years ago today.

This was not the Great War, however, but an invasion of rats at Newport on the Isle of Wight.

The Corporation had decided to offer a halfpenny per tail for all rats killed in the borough.

It was being reported in the Echo that as many as 300 rats had been killed by one dog in St Thomas’ Square in the centre of town, while other rumours circulated that 23 rats had been caught in one trap at one time.

There seemed to be no escape from the rats, and even the town’s mayor, Alderman A E Harvey, was not exempt from their attentions.

He himself declared he was one of the victims of the plague as rats gathered in his premises and “had a regular night out there, doing pounds and pounds worth of damage”.