About 4000 residents in rural towns were left without phone reception for days as the state’s mouse plague wreaks havoc with connectivity.
About 4000 residents in rural towns were left without phone reception for days as the state’s mouse plague wreaks havoc with connectivity.

Mice plague cutting off rural towns

Rural NSW's mouse plague has gone viral, with residents left without reception for almost three days when mice chewed through Telstra connection cords.

About 4000 residents of Werris Creek, Quirindi and Caroona in NSW's North West Slopes lost mobile service from Friday morning, leaving the rural area with no reception.

Quirindi resident Jo McKinnon lost phone and internet usage from 8am on Friday and was forced to drive an hour to Tamworth to do her job as a horse racing reporter.

Ms McKinnon said the connectivity issues were "frustrating" and the ongoing mouse problem had "overrun" Quirindi and surrounds.

Citrus farmer Lockie Roberts has been battling a mouse plague on his farm at Mumblepeg east of Warren. Picture: David Swift
Citrus farmer Lockie Roberts has been battling a mouse plague on his farm at Mumblepeg east of Warren. Picture: David Swift

"The internet was down for a significant amount of time, we didn't have an internet connection and couldn't make calls, everything was buggered," Ms McKinnon said.

"It's really frustrating especially for local businesses and farmers who need the internet every day for things, but the rats and mice have upped the ante in recent weeks somehow, they're everywhere and it's disgusting."

A Telstra spokesman confirmed yesterday the phone and internet issues in the area had been caused by damage to underground cables, which had been chewed by mice.

"The outage was the result of some damage to the fibre that runs to the mobile base station, which caused a transmission error," the spokesman said.

"In this case it was the result of a damage caused by vermin i.e. rats or mice chewing on the fibre connection."

The spokesman confirmed the area's service had been fixed by Sunday evening.

"We thank all our customers and residents for their patience, especially in cases where nature intervenes and causes service disruptions."

Farmers are also reporting mice ruining
Farmers are also reporting mice ruining "thousands and thousands" of dollars worth of grain and hay. Images supplied

It comes as The Daily Telegraph revealed farmers across NSW were losing hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of crops thanks to a horde of mice infesting the state's west.

With agricultural supply businesses warning of a shortage of mouse and rat bait due to overwhelming demand in rural NSW, the state's peak farming body issued a plea for the government to hand out cash to combat the rodent plague decimating NSW's bumper crop season.

NSW Farmers president James Jackson called on the state government to give the sector a leg-up by helping farmers subsidise pest control costs similar to those for locusts, wild dogs and rabbits.

"We still think at the moment the plague is so significant and widespread it's now both an environmental and health issue," Mr Jackson said.

"The reality is we need some support. We're calling for the government to step in and assist with financial help."

 

Originally published as Mice plague cutting off rural NSW towns

Hundreds of thousands of mice scatter.
Hundreds of thousands of mice scatter.


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