Belfast Caffe Nero in five-week revamp after it was forced to shut due to rat infestation
A Belfast city centre coffee shop that closed down after rats were apparently filmed scurrying over the counter is undergoing a five-week refurbishment programme, the Belfast Telegraph has learned.
Caffe Nero on Donegall Square West was closed after passers-by videoed the rodents on a mobile phone in the early hours of the morning. The video subsequently went viral on the internet.
The footage was filmed on Tuesday, July 7 at around 1.30am by a couple who were walking through the city trying to get a taxi home after having been out for dinner and drinks.
As they passed the store they spotted something moving out of the corner of their eye, before realising what it was.
"It was out of the corner of my eye I noticed one rat on the floor and then eventually another one, and I watched them climb up the counter and in behind the coffee machine," one of the couple said.
It has been viewed thousands of times on YouTube.
A spokeswoman for Caffe Nero said: "I can confirm that the store is being refurbished. At the moment Caffe Nero is unable to confirm an exact opening date."
A pest controller revealed that it receives callouts to Belfast businesses up to five times a week.
Rat-catcher Geoff Kennedy from Pestokill said the number of rats in the city is increasing.
"For example, if you had a male and female rat on January 1 and they have enough food and water and shelter, they could breed to the point where there are 2,000 by the end of that year," he said.
"We would have three to five callouts per week in the Belfast area for commercial pest-related problems."
He said rats were a growing health menace, but humans had to take a big share of the blame.