A teenager had the fright of her life when she found a live rat poking its head out of a Tesco delivery crate.
Beckie Richardson, 19, started hyperventilating and collapsed when she saw the rat next to Smarties and eggs in her home delivery at 1.30pm on Friday (29/1).
Mum Sue Richardson, 43, was helping Beckie unload the crates and rushed to help her daughter.
She said: “My daughter and I started unloading the shopping, one crate at a time and, as I took one off, I heard a scream and a thud.
“As Beckie lifted one of them up I heard an almighty crash and she was on the floor.
“I looked in the crate and this rat was just there looking up at us sitting next to the Smarties, eggs and tins.
“It was disgusting, I was in complete shock.
“My daughter was so traumatised by it that she had a panic attack and fell on the floor and rather than getting away from the rat, I had to look after her.”
Sue said she has been shopping at Tesco for years but has already swapped supermarkets after the live rat was delivered.
She said: “I have been shopping at Tesco for years and never had a problem but I’ll never go back to them after this.
“They were very apologetic and tried to palm me off with a bunch of flowers but this is a step too far.
“I’ve already changed supermarket to Sainsbury’s and I won’t be going back.
“I prefer online shopping because it’s easier and cheaper but they still have a duty of care.
“You wouldn’t expect a live rat to crawl out of your bag at the checkout and it’s not acceptable for one to be delivered to my home.”
Beckie suffered from panic attacks in the past but after taking medication and had support they had completely stopped until she saw the rat.
Sue, a primary school dinner lady, said: “She hasn’t had one for a long time, but she has been seeing psychiatrists and psychologists.
“They told us this whole incident has undone all the work.
“I picked up another crate and put in on top of the one with the rat so it wouldn’t escape and then I phoned Tesco.
“I spoke to them and they said it is highly unlikely the rat came from the store.
“There are definitely no rats around here because everyone in this street has dogs or cats and we would have noticed something.
“I hate rats, but I had to stay calm myself because of how Beckie was.”
The family have always ordered groceries from Tesco’s Gallows Corner branch in Essex, where their shopping was delivered from last week.
Sue lives with her husband Paul, 57, and other daughter Emma, 24, at their home in Ongar, Essex.
She said: “I chucked all of the shopping away because you have no idea what is contaminated and what isn’t.
“The man from Tesco came to drop some more shopping off and pick up the old crates and he also brought some flowers round.
“He rang me on Saturday and said they had the environmental health people go to the store but didn’t see any problems.”
The rat was taken away by the Tesco delivery driver but its fate is unknown.
A spokesman for Tesco said: “We take the cleanliness of our stores and delivery vehicles extremely seriously so were concerned to hear of the issue at our Romford Gallows Corner store.
“Although we’re confident this is an isolated incident, we’ve taken immediate action including working with a pest control company and jet washing the area where we store our online deliveries.
“We have visited and apologised to Mrs Richardson, delivered a replacement tray of groceries and offered her some flowers as a gesture of goodwill.”