Published: 10:18, 25 July 2019
| Updated: 11:33, 25 July 2019
A council has launched an investigation after rats were spotted in a town centre.
Members of the public and business owners have seen rodents running across St George's Square in Ashford, which is home to the Mark IV Tank.
Ayten Yilmaz who owns By The Tank Cafe in New Street suspected the rats were coming from the derelict Old Prince of Wales pub - before it reopened last week.
Rats in Ashford town centre
However, Ashford Borough Council (ABC) concluded this is not the case, and confirmed that rat activity was identified on a nearby flowerbed.
The 44-year-old, who runs By The Tank Cafe and Salata, said: "We've seen rats running around the courtyard next to the pub.
"One of my customers was sitting outside and saw a big rat running past.
"It's been going on for two months now. I got pest control out and it has been reported to the council but they have said nothing to us."
Ms Yilmaz, who has run the cafe for 16 years, says the pest problem is driving customers away from her business.
"People are saying they don't want to come back because they think the rats are coming from our property", she added.
"We've seen one big rat the size of a cat and four babies."
So far, Ms Yilmaz has spent £1,000 on pest control.
Susan Bradbery, who visits the town centre cafe twice a week, reportedly saw rats running across the courtyard while enjoying lunch with her daughter.
The 74-year-old said: "We were sitting there one day and we saw rats running around by the pub.
"I have tried reporting it to the council but I have not been able to get through.
"They are the cheapest cafe in town and they really look after their customers - I quite like going there.
"The cafe owner is worried about losing her business because of it."
Since KentOnline contacted ABC, it has launched an investigation after it said it had received no reports about rats in this area of town.
A council spokeswoman said: "We have investigated and found no link to the Prince of Wales pub.
"Rat activity was identified on a nearby flowerbed.
"We can confirm that pest control treatment is being undertaken by the responsible party and accordingly no further intervention appears necessary at this time."
More by this authorGeorgia Woolf