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The Pest Detectives: The Definitive Guide to Rentokil by Rob Gray

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Pied Piper publicity coup

With publicity opportunities uppermost in mind, in 1965 Rentokil signed a ten-year contract to eradicate rats from a small German town. That town was Hamelin – or Hameln, as it is called in Germany – on the picturesque river Weser in Lower Saxony.

Of course, Hamelin is the location for one of the world’s most famous folk tales, the story of the Pied Piper.

Legend has it that in 1284 a mysterious figure clad in a coat of many colours appeared in the town and pledged to rid it of rats in return for payment. Beguiling rats and mice with enchanting music from his pipes, he lured them to their doom in the river. When the city fathers then reneged on their agreement to pay for the musical massacre, events turned ugly. The ...

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