Giant rat found in London: Gas engineer finds rodent 'bigger than small child'

'I've got a cat and a Jack Russell and it was bigger than both of those put together'

A huge rat said to measure around 4ft has been found by workmen near a London playground.

Gas engineer Tony Smith said he spotted the giant rodent while working at a block of flats - describing it as the "largest I've ever seen in my entire life".

The 46-year-old said the animal was dead when he found it on land in Hackney Downs that backed on to a railway track.

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He took a picture of the creature being held by his electrician friend, James Green.

Mr Smith said: "This is the largest rat I've ever seen in my entire life. 

"I've got a cat and a Jack Russell and it was bigger than both of those put together. 

"I'd say it was about four foot.

"We were going to stick it in the bin, but before we did we thought we better take a picture of people won't believe it's real." 

Tony said the estate where he was working had an infestation of rats, and poison was left around to catch the rodents. 

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"The bins get left open nearby so these little fellas have a pretty good diet," he said.

"They eat fried chicken and rice all the time."

However, the country's foremost rat expert, Steven Belmain, Professor of Ecology at University of Greenwich, suggested the size of the rat may have been exaggerated.

"All wild rats in England are Norway rats," he told The Independent.

"I accept that they may find very well fed and mature animals that are at the upper limit of size, but they are certainly not going to reach two stone. There are rodents in the Tropics such as cane rats that get that big, but there is no way a Norway rat will get that big."

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