Shopkeepers in the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre have said problems with mice have blighted their businesses.
Ongoing mouse issues were so severe that the Mój Sklep Polish supermarket on the first floor close on October 22, as its owner feared for the hygiene of his stock.
And the owner of Magic Carpets, Reza Heidari, said mice were eating his carpets, despite both businesses repeatedly putting down poison.
“I have more storage downstairs,” Reza said. “There’s mice sh** all around, even though I put poison around, but nothing happens.
“The mice come in from upstairs and downstairs,” Reza said, and he pointed to gaps in the ceiling he had to close, where mice had been entering.
“One time a customer asked me to open a carpet for them to have a look, and two or three mice came out in front of the customer. I didn’t know what to do.”
Meanwhile, Polish supermarket owner Ian Coll told the News his business became “unprofitable” because of the amount of time he and his staff were spending each day filling and emptying the shelves, and putting all their stock into storage again overnight. Otherwise the food would be eaten by the mice which “always found their way into the supermarket”.
Because it was so time consuming for the Sklep’s staff to packing and unpacking twice a day, they were limited by how much stock they could put on their shelves.
“It meant the shop looked empty, with half-filled shelves,” Ian said. “It gave the impression the shop was in a bad state and we didn’t having much to sell, so people wouldn’t come in. But I we went to all that length because there was no way I would sell food to people if I didn’t think it was safe.
“Five years ago I was able to run a successful business that people enjoyed coming to and could rely on.
“But things changed dramatically a year ago and I cannot get Delancey or Savills [hired by Delancey to manage the centre] to help. But they told me it was my responsibility to run a profitable business.
“Until recently I had been led to believe the mouse problems were an isolated issue with just my store, which obviously is not the case.”
Other business owners the News spoke to also said anonymously that they have had mouse problems. This was despite many of them seeing their services charges increase. Ian added that his service charge increased “20 per cent every year” since Delancey took over the site.
A spokesperson from the Elephant and Castle shopping centre said: “We remain committed to maintaining a clean, safe and vibrant shopping environment for all those who use the centre. As with any city centre building of this size, we have an extensive pest management contract in place.”