‘If this has saved one child from getting sick then we have achieved something’ – Guilden Morden couple who took pictures of rats at Royston Tesco shocked by response

PUBLISHED: 09:51 11 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:20 11 May 2017

Patricia Hepburn and Andy Carter saw rats in the trolley area at Royston Tesco and gave the community the heads up about it on Facebook.  Picture: Danny Loo

Patricia Hepburn and Andy Carter saw rats in the trolley area at Royston Tesco and gave the community the heads up about it on Facebook. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

A Guilden Morden couple whose pictures of rats at a Royston supermarket made national headlines this week have said they were shocked that their ‘heads up’ to the community got so much attention.

The rats were climbing on the baby seats so the couple wanted to let people know that it had been happening. Picture: Patricia Hepburn The rats were climbing on the baby seats so the couple wanted to let people know that it had been happening. Picture: Patricia Hepburn

Andy Carter and his long-term partner Patricia Hepburn had just finished their shopping and were returning the trolley at the Tesco Extra store in Old North Road on Saturday, April 29, when Patricia saw what she thought was a squirrel at first glance.

She took a picture, and then four or five other rats came out.

“There were two staff members who were coming our way and we told them,” said Andy.

“They didn’t seem too interested, and a bit of a joke was made about it.”

The rats pictured on trolleys at Royston Tesco. Picture: Patricia Hepburn The rats pictured on trolleys at Royston Tesco. Picture: Patricia Hepburn

The couple went home and Andy posted the pictures on the Royston Reporting Page on Facebook, where it got more than 150 comments.

Mr Carter said they couldn’t believe the level of response on social media.

“We were shocked,” the 55-year-old grandfather said.

“Someone from a news agency rang us up and asked if they could use the pictures, and the next thing it was in the national papers.

“My daughter is a hairdresser and has been telling everyone about it.

“We had a feeling it could be a big story because of what we saw. We have had lots of reaction and it’s been about 98 per cent positive.”

Mr Carter was diagnosed with terminal emphysema two years ago so said that clean open spaces are important.

He moved to Guilden Morden 13 years ago from Royston and has three children and five grandchildren aged between three months and 11 years.

There have been many comments on Facebook applauding Mr Carter for raising the issue, but some people thought it would impact negatively on Tesco.

Explaining to the Crow why he shared the pictures on Facebook, Mr Carter said: “We never wanted to do this to shame Tesco or for financial gain, at the end of the day we have grandchildren ourselves, and the rats were climbing all over the baby seats.

“We don’t like seeing it, so we wanted to give the community a heads up to say if you’re going to put your children in the seats this is what has been happening.

“Children put things in their mouths and sometimes you don’t think of or have time to wipe the seat first so you just put them in.

“If it’s helped half a dozen young mums or even one child not get sick or bitten then we feel we have achieved something.”

Mr Carter said he has been back since and the area has been cleaned up and a bin was installed.

The Crow contacted Tesco and a spokesman for the supermarket said: “We are committed to ensuring that our trolley areas meet the highest standards of cleanliness and are sorry we have not met these on this occasion.

“We acted immediately to arrange for a pest control company to carry out a thorough inspection and resolve the issue.

“A full deep clean of our trollies has also taken place.”

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