New South Wales mouse plague forces evacuation of Wellington Correctional Centre

Mice have been tormenting farmers for months.
Mice have been tormenting farmers for months. Photo credit: Facebook / Melanie Moeris

A plague of mice currently terrorising parts of Australia has forced the evacuation of a jail in New South Wales (NSW).

More than 400 inmates and 200 staff at Wellington Correctional Centre will be moved to other facilities in the next 10 days due to the infestation.

Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin says the facility will be deep-cleaned and repaired to ensure it's safe in the event of another plague.

"The health, safety and wellbeing of staff and inmates is our number one priority so it's important for us to act now to carry out the vital remediation work," Severin said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

"We need to take this step now to ensure the site is thoroughly cleaned and infrastructure is repaired."

Assistant Commissioner for Custodial Corrections Kevin Corcoran said the remediation work will investigate how to protect the facility from future infestations.

"We want to do this overhaul once and we want it done properly, which means we'll be looking at ways to mitigate the effects of similar plagues in the future," he says.

"Relocating staff and inmates will give us the best chance of deep-cleaning the prison, reviewing site infrastructure and tackling this challenge head-on."

Farmers in NSW warn the mouse plague could cost them A$1 billion (NZ$1.07 billion) in lost crops and poison baits this season.