Movie-goers were left in shock after spotting “lots of rats” scurrying around a cinema – with some even finding them in cup holders and gnawing popcorn.
Claire Bermingham visited the ODEON Luxe in Maidstone to watch The Colour Purple with her friends when she noticed the rodents running around the room.
The mum, from Kings Hill, instantly left Screen 5 at the Lockmeadow leisure complex to speak to a manager and asked to see another film.
When she tracked someone down and asked to be put into another film she was given a surprise response that the rat problem wasn’t just limited to one screen.
Claire told KentOnline: “There were lots of rats, it was quite surreal. We went last Wednesday at around 8pm and arrived a bit early so we opened the doors and saw them all over the chairs and in the cup holders.
“We could see rats tails sticking out and traps everywhere. We left and spoke to a manager as I didn’t want to stay in there.
“I asked if we could watch another film if one hadn’t started but we were told the problem is with all the screens.
She added: “I’ve work in health and safety so I know the diseases they carry. I was too shocked to get photos of them.
“They shouldn’t be open, especially with the school holidays and half-term coming up. I’m still a bit shocked by it all.”
The food court and complex location is located exactly where rats would likely feast given its proximity to the river and areas where food is being constantly dropped.
An ODEON spokesman said: “We are aware of the issue at ODEON Maidstone, which has impacted the cinema alongside other units in the Lockmeadow Leisure Complex.
“The cinema holds a 5* hygiene rating and carries out extensive and regular cleaning tasks.
“We are working with the site manager of the Complex and local services to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”
Despite ODEON’s comment the problem is affecting other units at the Barker Road complex, Maidstone council says this isn’t the case.
A spokesman said: “The council takes this issue with upmost severity and has engaged with ODEON regarding these reports.
“The council knows that ODEON has a pest control system in place which is regularly reviewed and is industry compliant. ODEON has also been taking specific measures to deal with the issue.
“This report is confirmed to be confined to the areas that are managed by ODEON, and there has been no indication of problems elsewhere on the Lockmeadow Entertainment Centre site.
“As the owners of Lockmeadow, the council ensures that its managing agents have stringent measures in place to maintain high standards and to minimise the risk of infestation.”