A gas engineer has found what he claims is the largest rat he has ever seen, while working on flats in Hackney, east London. Engineer Tony Smith spotted the corpse of a 4ft-long rat weighing 25lbs in a bush next to a popular children's playground, located on the Amhurst Road in Hackney, which backed onto a railway track near Hackney Downs.

"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," said Smith, 46. "We were going to stick it in the bin, but before we did we thought we better take a picture or people won't believe it's real."

According to Smith, the neighbourhood where the rat was found was believed to have been suffering from a rat infestation for a while. Residents often leave the bins open attracting the rodents. Commenting on the size of the rat, Smith says it must have been his "good diet" that contributed to his mammoth size. "The bins get left open nearby so these little fellas have a pretty good diet ... They eat fried chicken and rice all the time," said Smith. Smith reportedly requested his friend, electrician James Green to hold the dead animal so he could take a picture.

In 2014, mutant rats who are found to be immune to poison, were reportedly invading homes across south-east London to escape the heavy rain storms. Rodents pose the risk of meningitis, liver damage and renal failure since they are known to carry diseases, like the bacterial infection, Weil's Disease (Leptospirosis). The creatures usually enter homes through gaps and drainpipes when weather conditions get hazardous and build homes in the warm areas of the house and within the walls.