"Giant rats" claimed to have been found in a housing estate in Tooting are actually giant swamp rats from the United States.

On Saturday, pest controller Dean Burr who runs Lords Environmental in Wimbledon, spoke to the Wandsworth Guardian as well as ITV, the Sun and the Evening Standard, about seven giant rats he said he found on a job on April 11. 

He said at the time: "They were still alive, since the traps used were not man enough to take on rodents of this size and were instead just "stuck" inside the traps. Having walked around the whole site we caught seven in total."

Mr Burr said he believed the rats had grown so large because of the "amount of rubbish and easily accessible food" available on the streets, as well as rats eating other rats.

He also said: "We need stronger poisons and the local councils need to be making sure all residents have bin storage to cut down the amount of plastic bags left outside houses, as this all provides foods to fatten them up."

Since then, eagle-eyed Mumsnet users from Wandsworth have spotted the same image Mr Burr sent the newspapers on the National Geographic website, from 2013. 

Wandsworth Times:

From Saturday: "Rats the size of cats" found in Tooting housing estate

Mr Burr has been contacted for comment.