'It's disgusting' - Mice invasion in children's softplay area at Scottish leisure centre

After repeated visits the flabbergasted mum took her own photographic evidence

Sunday, 8th December 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Monday, 16th December 2019, 12:26 pm

One of the busiest kiddies' softplay areas in Edinburgh has suffered a mice invasion, The Evening News can reveal.

The vermin have been spotted several times in the last fortnight in the popular Clambers softplay area at the Royal Commonwealth Pool while small children, babies and parents play nearby.

One disgusted mum reported how she had informed staff of the issue after spotting mice droppings one day recently within the area, only to be confronted by one of the furry rodents in the flesh the very next day scurrying around in the pool's adjacent cafe.

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Mouse poo was photographed in the softplay area.


'Me and my kids screamed'

The young mum of two, who has asked not to be named, said: "I was in the climbing frame with my son playing and noticed little dropping of mice poo in the corner, it was disgusting.

"I just picked him up and went straight to the staff.

"They did not seem shocked, the response I got was that the softplay area is getting deep cleaning every evening and that there was nothing to worry about.

"But I was in the cafe the next day and there was this furry grey colour thing that moved super-fast. At first I did think it was fluff until it moved.

"I screamed a little and another customer noticed it too. My kids both screamed and tried to chase it."

She added: "The woman who noticed it in the cafe did say this isn’t the first time she has spotted a mouse, she actually said she was in a fitness classes and one ran out of a cupboard."

After repeated visits the flabbergasted mum took her own photographic evidence of mouse droppings on playmats at the centre to prove her case.

She added: "After the fourth time of seeing poo and mice running around the centre I refuse to return until the place has closed for a deep clean. I’m not sure the staff or manager care after speaking to them on a number of occasions and seems very little has been done.

"It’s disgusting to think of my kids playing in a soft play that has mice poo in it. Kids nowadays put anything in their month, I would hate to think of a kids eating this and becoming seriously ill."

7 days to clear mice

The pool, built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games, is one of the city's flagship sporting venues and recently underwent a multi-millon upgrade. It is operated by Edinburgh Leisure, the arms-length firm which operates the city's publicly owned leisure venues, on behalf of Edinburgh City Council.

It is believed the mice are migrating into the large pool building from the nearby Holyrood Park, attracted by access to the pool's vast heating systems as the weather turns colder.

Independent pest control expert, Thomas Gribben, owner of Edinburgh Pest Control, said a mouse infestation would take approximately seven days to clear out thoroughly and that it would be preferable to close down the softplay while rodenticide poison was carefully placed to control the mice.

He said: "I imagine an organisation the size of Edinburgh Leisure will have their own pest control arrangements, but generally speaking it takes seven days for a mouse infestation to be cleared. Obviously, when we are talking about small children being around poison and mouse droppings, it would be preferable for any situation like that for the premises to be closed completely."

'We have been doing everything we can'

Edinburgh Leisure said: "We have been doing everything we can do address this problem. The frame is cleaned on a daily basis and CEC (City of Edinburgh Council) pest control also support us on a regular basis.

"Clambers opened slightly later than usual on Tuesday morning to enable a deep clean to take place (this was completed on Wednesday).

"CEC pest control make regular visits to the venue and we have also sought additional support from an external pest control company.

"There is evidence of mice in the venue however it is not an infestation. We are of course very sorry for any customers who have been affected or upset by this incident and can understand how distressing it might be.

"The cleanliness of our facilities is of the utmost importance and we have taken a number of actions to alleviate the issue. The soft play area and café are being checked on an ongoing basis and there is no further evidence of mice and no further complaints have been received."

Note from the editor: This report was originally illustrated with a picture of mice droppings on a playmat supposedly taken at Clambers. We published the picture in good faith after being sent it by a concerned parent and first confirming with Edinburgh Leisure that the details we had been given about a problem with mice at the play area were in fact correct. We now accept that the picture was not taken at Clambers and may have given the impression that the mice problem was more extensive than in reality. We apologise for the misleading impression this might have given and any upset caused.