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Published: 13:32, 22 January 2020
| Updated: 10:57, 23 January 2020
Part of an M&S food hall was forced to close after a suspected sewage leak was found dripping on to the shop floor.
Puddles of water have been gathering underneath the customer and staff toilets at the company's store in Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre near Gillingham.
Buckets were placed on the floor in the bottled drinks section yesterday and part of the store remained closed to customers today.
The smell has been described as "atrocious" by witnesses.
KentOnline understands the leak has been a problem for several years and the shop has continued to trade.
A source said: "The problem with the toilets has been going on for years and years and years.
"When they renewed those toilets they didn't renew the pipe work and every few months they get blocked, it's just all over the place.
"This time it was really bad and it has leaked through the ceiling down on to the wines and drinks, it was sewage water from above.
"When the store had their refurbishment last summer they removed the bakery to the other side.
"But now they have put the bottled drinks in the area.
"They continued operating all day and at the end of the day you can actually smell it was sewage water.
"The smell upstairs was atrocious."
Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre management said it was not their responsibility to deal with and the matter is being handled by M&S.
A statement issued by M&S states that part of the foodhall is currently closed while it deals with a leak.
The rest of the store remains open to the public.
It apologised for the inconvenience to the customers and would like to thank them for their patience as it endeavours to reopen the area as soon as possible.
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