A takeaway boss smelled a rat when a rodent was captured on video scurrying around his premises.
A video circulating on social media showed the rat inside Kebabish, an Indian restaurant and takeaway, in John William Street, Huddersfield.
Owner Mohammed Akram, 44, said the shock footage was a set-up aimed at damaging his business.
He said he knew it was a set-up because no-one complained when the rat was spotted. “They just did it deliberately for the camera. If it was genuine why wouldn’t they complain and tell the staff?”
Mr Akram said the premises had been plagued by a gang of yobs who would hang around outside or come in and refuse to leave.
“We have had a problem with a group of seven or eight people who hang around outside the restaurant drinking and acting anti-socially,” he said.
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“Over the last five or six months we have had problems with them. They come in and demand food but refuse to pay and abuse the staff. They have smashed windows as well.
“We think that it was one of this group who bought the rat into the store and then filmed it and posted it online. The first we knew of it was when we saw the footage on social media.
“We have never had a problem with rodents or any type of infestation in the last five or six years we have been trading.”
Mr Akram said Environmental Health inspectors had been into the restaurant on Tuesday and given a clean bill of health.
He added: “If there was a problem they would have shut us down.”
Mr Akram said he had reported the yobs to police and added: “These people have caused us so much misery and also put our reputation on the line. We have done nothing wrong. It’s like they have a vendetta against us.”
Since the video was shared on social media Mr Akram said Kebabish had been inundated by customers ringing up giving their support.
“People have seen it and know it’s not true,” he said. “They are very upset for us.”
Mr Akram said he didn’t know what had happened to the rat but it had long gone. An inspection by a hygiene consultant found no evidence of the rat.
A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “A complaint was received by Environmental Services on Tuesday March 22 regarding a rat/mouse in the seating area at Kebabish.
“An environmental health officer visited the premises, unannounced, that same day and inspected all food storage and preparation areas.
“There was no evidence of any rodent activity or infestation at the premises and therefore there was no risk to health identified.
“The premises were found to be clean and well managed and had adequate controls to manage pests in place.”