A POPULAR bakery chain outlet in Bournemouth remains shut amid a rat infestation in the town.

Greggs in Old Christchurch Road closed on Friday, emptying its shelves and covering up its windows. A handwritten notice was taped to the door explaining the store was closed “due to issues”.

The council’s environmental health team have since confirmed they are dealing with a rat problem in the alleyway behind Greggs.

A spokesperson for the company, who initially said they were closed due to a maintenance problem, said: “We take food hygiene issues very seriously and closed the shop immediately.

“Specialist contractors have been called in to carry out a thorough inspection, and the shop will re-open once all necessary actions have been taken.”

The Daily Echo spoke to two local pest control services who both confirmed they were dealing with rat infestations in Old Christchurch Road.

Terry Walker, managing director of TP Pest Control Services, said it was one of his busiest areas.

“I’ve got ongoing contracts with some commercial and domestic premises in Old Christchurch Road and the surrounding area.

“My contracts as a whole are increasing exponentially. It’s partly the time of year as you do see a rise in the rat issue during the winter.”

Paul Storey, of TPD Environmental Services, added he had visited a couple of premises which were “ridiculously infested”.

“It’s down to a number of factors, with the council not emptying bins as often and people trying to pest control themselves,” he explained.

“Rats have become immune to first generation rodenticide products – this then turns them into ‘super rats’.

“There are a hell of a lot of restaurants which only ever call in pest controllers when the problem gets to a level they can’t control, or environmental health has shut them down,” he added.

Louise Jones, environmental health manager for Bournemouth council, said: “We are aware of a rodent problem to the rear alleyway in the Old Christchurch Road area, and we are currently working closely with the land owner on the cleanliness, structure and the rodent issues.”

Breno Miea, manager of Day’s restaurant, which also backs onto the alleyway, said although he was aware of the rat problem, it had not affected the restaurant.

Nearby pub The Mary Shelley is also unaffected, according to a spokesperson for J D Wetherspoon.

It follows a similar infestation in the Post Office Road area of Bournemouth, which has been exacerbated by major development work at the nearby Bristol and West building, according to the council.

Officers visited food outlets in the area, although no evidence of pests were discovered within the properties.