Police in India’s Haryana state believe they have found a novel way to tackle a plague of mice infesting official records and destroying evidence.
They have started using a pair of domesticated white rats to scare the mice away.
Rodents are a huge problem in India, consuming tonnes of grain intended for human consumption every year.
The experiment has now attracted the attention of animal experts, who think it could be a solution to the problem.
Armies of mice
Despite all the modern weapons available to them, the police in Haryana had until now failed to combat the population of rodents feeding their way through official documents and other critical evidence.
The situation was particularly bad in the central district of Karnal, where armies of mice have, over the years, destroyed many court records.
“Innumerable rodents have invaded the Moharar Maalkhana [record room] and we have been helpless,” said the senior superintendent of Karnal, Arshinder Singh Chawla.
“These rats or mice are voracious eaters and have chewed up vital papers, clothing and even the jute [rough fibre] sacks we normally use to store narcotics, illicit alcohol and weapons confiscated from criminals and crime scenes,” he said.
The rodents seem to be especially fond of jute bags laced with the intoxicating flavour of bhukki, or poppy husk – a commonly-used narcotic in Haryana which is seized in large quantities from drug peddlers, said Mr Chawla.