A gas engineer has told how he discovered a rat bigger than his dog as he worked at a block of flats. Tony Smith, 46, spotted the dead rodent in a bush near a children’s playground while working close to Hackney Downs in north London. He believes it weighs more than 25lb – and is “about 4ft” long with its tail, although this would easily put it on a par with the largest known rat species in the world.

“This is the largest rat I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” he said. He took a photograph of his friend James Green, an electrician, holding up the supersize rat to the camera. Mr Smith added: “I’ve got a cat and a Jack Russell and it was bigger than both of those.” He said bins are often left open near the estate where he has been working so “these little fellas have a pretty good diet”. READ MORE