A new breed of giant rats are allegedly terrorising binmen as they complete their morning rounds.
The rodents have grown bigger, more fearless and more aggressive, according to one binman who had to take cover when one tried to attack him.
Recently the binman, posed with one of the huge foot-long rats he caught in Plymouth, Devon after finding it behind a skip.
He said that this latest “freak breed” did not seem to be afraid of humans and he only got rid of the rat by throwing a brick at it.
The street and refuse collector for Plymouth City Council, said: "When I was attacked it was a terrifying experience. The rat was aggressive and huge and I tried to shoo it off.
"But the rat did not back down at all. It had its teeth out and stood its ground like the alpha male whose territory had been invaded.
"I am used to rats as I see so many in my job - I deal with rubbish after all - and I have always been ok with them.
"But I know they are not afraid anymore - and that does worry me.
"This latest one is over a foot long I reckon.
"It is huge but I have seen this size and possibly even bigger in the last couple months.
"They are definitely getting bigger.
"Also they are not afraid of you as they used to be - I got chased by one."
The discovery of giant rats in Plymouth comes just months after several NHS trusts found rats the size of small dogs in hospitals, leaving them fearing the vermin would chew their way through medical equipment wires or contaminate medical supplies with urine and droppings.
British exterminators at the time were calling on the Government to grant them more powers to use a stronger poison as they felt it is the sole solution to getting rid of the disease ridden rodents.
They feared the number of rats could double to 160million by the end of this year - with some growing up to two feet long.
Genetic testing by Huddersfied University has revealed the vermin have developed a mutation allowing them to survive the same conventional poisons which have been used since the 1950s.
And researchers say Britain's giant rats could out number humans by two to one by January next year.
But licensing authorities are faced with a major problem as strong rat poisons could pose risks to other wildlife, pets and even children.