Traders at Birmingham's Bull Ring Indoor Market have criticised the city council for failing to tackle a vermin infestation which has forced the market to close for three days.
The market was shut on Tuesday as environmental health and pest control officers cleared the site of mice and cockroach droppings. It was initially planned to close the market for just one day, but officials have now announced that it won't reopen until Friday.
Stall holders, who are likely to lose thousands of pounds in revenue as a result of the closure, claim the authority knew about the infestation two months ago but failed to act, a claim the council has rejected.
Butcher Jason Wilets, from Erdington, said: “We’ve been complaining about it for two months. It’s not like we’ve not warned them. It’s three big days for us to lose – it’s devastating.”
Tony Rowe has run a flower stall just outside the market for more than 20 years. He said: “The council should be concentrating on the infrastructure and condition of the market rather than making sure everyone’s stalls are in line.”
Steve Grogan, head of markets, said: “No one came forward to myself or market services (about the problem).
“We have measures in place – pest control experts and contractors who visit once a month so we took every measure possible.”
He confirmed the “source” of the cockroach infestation was cardboard boxes holding exotic fruit and vegetables and said such containers would no longer be allowed onto the sales floor.
The council was not charging traders rent during the closure.
Mr Grogan would not disclose how much revenue the market was expected to lose or how much the council would miss in rent but did say it would be “considerable”.