Gaffe crowns Wandsworth rat capital of UK
7:00am Wednesday 23rd May 2012 in Weird news
The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) was left red-faced after it incorrectly named Wandsworth as the most pest-ridden part of the country.
The organisation had compiled its inaugural list of the areas in the UK which had the most requests from residents to help deal with pest problems in council properties.
Pests contained in the list included rats, mice, cockroaches, bedbugs and ants.
But unfortunately the bungling boffins behind the survey missed a crucial decimal point and ranked the Brighter Borough as the worst in the country with a "complaint" rate of 86 people per 1,000.
In fact, after the council's press office rumbled the error, Wandsworth was found to have a rate of just 8.6 people per 1,000 surveyed.
A number of news organisation including the Evening Standard and the Independent had to remove stories containing the erroneous data from their websites.
While radio station LBC also had to amend its online version story adding the below retraction to their story.
It read: "The BPCA orignally named Wandsworth as the worst borough for pests, but had got their decimal point in the wrong place, claiming 86 complaints per thousand, but the actual figure is 8.6."
Tower Hamlets now tops the overall pest list with a rating of 82 complaints per 1,000 residents.
Councillor Jonathan Cook said: "This was a very amateurish piece of research. It's quite difficult to comprehend how this leading industry body could have made such a basic mistake, but the figures they published were so utterly nonsensical and unrealistic that they should have immediately smelled a rat.
"The fact that they published them without double checking them is a poor reflection on the BPCA."
To compile the survey the BPCA analysed the demand for pest control in all 393 local authorities in the UK over a 12-month period ending in April 2011.
The capital's boroughs of Hackney and Southwark featured in the top 10 areas as did Richmondshire, Birmingham, Newcastle upon Tyne, South Tyneside and North Lanarkshire.