IT’s not exactly the best way to create a buzz about a shopping centre.
Shoppers in Wester Hailes have been left shocked after the Westside Plaza centre was hit with a plague of flies.
The insects have been causing problems at the centre since they first appeared in July, and bosses admitted experts called in to advise them had been unable to figure out about why the flies had suddenly appeared.
The flies are currently bothering customers at the centre’s Lidl store, which has led to some customers raising concerns about the fresh fruit and vegetables.
Lennie Thomas, 47, a retired doorman from Broomhouse, was amongst customers at the Lidl store who left shocked after witnessing the extent of the problem.
“I’m a regular customer in there, and I was just stunned when I went in and saw a huge swarm of flies buzzing around the fruit and veg,” he said.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in Scotland, even at an outdoor market, and there were dozens of them just buzzing around.
“It was quite disgusting, and while I know there’s no problem if people wash their fruit and veg, I really think they should stop selling it until they get the problem fixed.”
The council’s environmental control have been down to look at the problem, and have insisted there is no health concern, provided people wash their fruit and vegtables before eating.
It is now hoped that the combined efforts of local pest control companies will be able to take care of the problem
Centre manager Alex Limond said it had no explanation for why the problem had suddenly occurred, but said it was doing everything possible to get rid of the insects.
“I’ve never had to deal with anything like this before, and we have spoken to four fly experts over the past few months, and none of them have been able to explain exactly why they are here,” he said.
“The problem first started around the end of July, and we have found that once we get rid of them from one area they seem to pop up in another part of the centre. We are working with the stores and pest control experts, however, and we’re confident we will be able to get this under control.”
A spokeswoman for Lidl confirmed it was aware of the problem and said it had employed expert pest control workers.
“As I understand it this is an ongoing problem with the centre,” she said. “The council’s environmental services department have been in to evaluate the problem and they were satisfied that there was no public health issue, and that we had the problem in hand.
“We would advise people to remember that they should always wash fresh fruit and veg before eating it.
“It’s certainly very unusual and we’ve no idea why this is happening.”
A council spokeswoman confirmed the environmental services department had visited the centre and was happy with the steps being taken to eradicate the problem. She added: “It’s a pretty bizarre problem to have in Scotland at this time of year, although it’s likely the cold weather might sort it out naturally in the next few weeks.”