Popular fast food diner launch investigation after rat is pictured scurrying around tables
A KFC is facing an investigation after a rat was discovered running under the tables on Saturday evening.
Diners at the restaurant's busy Shaftesbury Square outlet in Belfast were left horrified to see the large rodent running around the floor and sniffing the benches for food.
The rat is believed to have been spotted at around 8pm, when staff dealt with the incident.
KFC - formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken - confirmed it had launched an internal investigation.
A worker at the fast food restaurant yesterday said they were not allowed to comment.
Last night a KFC spokesman said: "We take the hygiene of our restaurants extremely seriously; we are investigating this incident as a matter of the utmost importance and can confirm that the restaurant has no history of issues of this kind."
KFC said the restaurant received five stars out of five on its last hygiene inspection by Belfast City Council.
The branch is at a prime location in a part of the city popular with clubbers, pub-goers and students.
One of the best-known fast food outlets in Northern Ireland, KFC has almost 800 branches across the UK.
Last August there was shock after the Belfast Telegraph revealed disturbing footage of rats rummaging around in the early hours of the morning in a Belfast branch of a well-known coffee shop. Two rodents could be seen behind the counter of the Caffe Nero shop at Donegall Square West.
The footage had been filmed on Tuesday, July 7, at around 1.30am by a couple who were walking past on their way to a taxi rank after having been out for dinner and drinks.
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Caffe Nero launched an investigation, and the branch was closed for almost two months - although the company said it was undergoing refurbishment during the period.
Just one month before a case was brought against the Belfast bar and restaurant formerly known as Alley Cat.
It was fined a total of £950 after a dead rat was found there in 2014.
Alley Cat is now being run by a new food business operator.
Rat infestations are a growing problem across the province.
Recently a man from Carrickfergus said his home was left a "worthless rat house" after rodents invaded the property, which was built incorrectly on top of a sewer.
Belfast City Council provides help and advice to homeowners and business owners to get rid of a number of pests.
According to the British Pest Control Association, rats live in any situation that provides food, water and shelter.
In homes, they will live in roof spaces, wall cavities or under floorboards.
In gardens, they will burrow into grassy banks or under sheds. Brown rats are often found living in sewer systems.
Rats carry many diseases which they can spread to humans, normally through their urine, including leptospirosis or Weil's disease, salmonella, listeria, toxoplasma gondii and hantavirus.