SHOPPERS at a Tesco superstore were shocked to find a less than desirable four-legged consumer while collecting their groceries.

The store at Catterick Garrison was forced to close yesterday (June 11) lunchtime because of complaints raised by customers – one who reported seeing a rat near the meat counter and another who saw one scurrying about in the fruit and vegetable aisle.

Reports were posted on Facebook groups about the sightings, with many local residents voicing their disgust at the idea of the scavengers feasting on display products.

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Administrators of a local community group on the social media site spread the news amongst followers, saying a security guard at the store had said it was closing due to a rat infestation.

One shopper said he saw the rat running around in the fruit and vegetable aisle.

“I could have kicked it, it was that close,” he said.

Another witness said she saw a rat running behind the meat counter and under a fridge.

There has been speculation that a population of the rodents had been disturbed by development work ongoing at the site of the new town centre opposite Tesco.

However, members of other Facebook groups commended Tesco for dealing with the problem swiftly by closing the store.

The shop re-opened later in the afternoon.

A spokeswoman for Tesco said: “We are committed to ensuring our stores are of the highest standards of cleanliness and we take all reports of pests extremely seriously.

“We immediately arranged for a pest control company to carry out a thorough inspection and they have assured us the store is clear of pests.”