Huge rats are running riot at a Westfield just months after a mysterious foul stench coming from the shopping centre’s car park was deemed a ‘danger to the community’
- Rats have been seen running riot in several restaurants and eateries
- Traders at Westfield Southland in Victoria say problem is hurting business
- Customers say rats have scurried past their feet while they drank their coffee
- Infestation comes after customers complained about a stench from the car park
Published: | Updated:
A Westfield has been invaded by a colony of giant rats just months after shoppers complained of a foul stench coming from the car park.
The grotesque rodents are running riot at Westfield Southland in Cheltenham in south east Melbourne, according to shoppers and traders.
Shop owners say the problem is hurting business while customers say they have seen rats running past food outlets.
Traders say management has done nothing about the rats even though they have been complaining since September 2018.
‘The rats have run straight out into plain view of customers multiple times,’ one trader told the Herald Sun.
‘We have offered discounts and refunds but there’s no doubt sales are down from last year … no one wants to come back if they see rodents running around.’
The grotesque rodents are running riot at Westfield Southland in Cheltenham, Victoria, according to shoppers and traders (stock image)
Shopper Vicki Carroll said she saw a large grey rat run past her feet while having a coffee with a friend.
‘I was with a girlfriend enjoying a cappuccino and all of a sudden a huge rat ran across the floor … I looked over at other tables and they saw it too,’ she said.
Traders in the centre believe a relocation of the bins has caused the infestation, with rats using the higher levels to travel to the basement.
One restaurant owner, who wished to remain anonymous, told Daily Mail Australia there were lots of rats in the dumping area.
‘It is out of control,’ the owner said.
Traders claim management has done nothing about the rats even though have complained since September 2018 (pictured: Westfield Southland in Cheltenham, Victoria)
‘Centre management said they would send someone over in September, but that hasn’t happened.
‘We have just given up with centre management.’
One trader told Daily Mail Australia he had not seen any rats in his establishment but had heard about the infestation from other business owners.
A spokesman from Westfield told Daily Mail Australia that the shopping centre conducted regular pest control inspections.
‘Given some recent reported sightings at the centre, we have asked our pest control contractors to work with us and our retail partners to conduct additional inspections over and above our regular pest control program, this includes increased pest control servicing around loading docks and waste areas,’ he said.
Reports of a rat infestation come after customers complained about a strong stench in the ground level car park
The rat invasion comes after shoppers complained about a foul stench in the centre’s car park in August.
It is thought the smell came from a liquid leaking from an overhead pipe.
Svetlana D’Art, who parks at the ground level car park five times a week, told Daily Mail Australia at the time that she had complained to Southland’s management and Kingston council numerous times.
‘The management said they’ve brought up the car park’s terrible smell in board meetings but it’s been about four months and nothing has been done,’ she said.
‘I’m worried about the community’s health. This is not a car park issue. This is a health hazard issue and a danger to the community.’
Kingston councillor Geoff Gledhill said the carpark is the property of Westfield, who should be responsible for fixing damaged pipes.