The owner of a beachfront sauna has apologised after a customer was bitten by a rat.

The man was given a course of antibiotics, as well as injections against typhoid and diphtheria, after the rat gnawed his foot at Beach Box Sauna in Brighton.

Sauna owner Liz Watson said the business is in a "natural environment where there is local wildlife" and they had "done more to strengthen their defences" against rodents. 

Brighton and Hove City Council confirmed that officers are now looking into the incident near Madeira Terrace.

The Argus: The bite marks on the man's left footThe bite marks on the man's left foot (Image: Submitted)

The man, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Argus: “It bit right into my foot and I had to kick my foot before its teeth became dislodged.

"The rat flew through the air and hit the stones but my foot was bleeding badly.

“The staff didn’t really know what to do. They asked me if I wanted a plaster.

“I went to the sauna then someone walked in with an accident book.

“My primary concern was diseases. I asked staff to call 111 as my foot was still bleeding. The staff didn’t really do anything."

The man was visiting with friends, walking barefoot between the freezing plunge pool and sauna, when he was bitten by the large rat.

He said he now “can’t see a squirrel without worrying” after the incident on the evening of March 12.

He said: “It’s shocking. They’re not taking responsibility for the environment that they’re in.

“It’s incredibly frustrating, it’s a worrying lack of responsibility, and it’s disrespecting her clientele.

“This is supposed to be a premium experience but it’s not.

“My foot was weeping for a couple of days and there are two marks. I can’t see a squirrel now without worrying.”

The Argus: Beach Box Sauna with the plunge pool on the leftBeach Box Sauna with the plunge pool on the left (Image: The Argus)

The man said the sauna offered him a refund but he wants compensation, which he will donate to a friend’s charity.

Ms Watson said she and her team "deeply regret what happened" during the man's visit.

The Argus: Liz Watson, owner of Beach Box SpaLiz Watson, owner of Beach Box Spa (Image: Salt Images)

She said: “The health, safety and wellbeing of our clients is of paramount importance to us and we maintain a rigorous cleaning schedule throughout the day to ensure the highest hygiene standards.

“We want to be clear that the incident happened on the beach area of our site and not within one of our saunas.

“Part of the unique appeal of our sauna is that it sits within the natural environment. However, this can bring challenges as it means sharing the space with our local wildlife.

“We have measures in place to deter rodents from the site, however, since the incident we've strengthened our defences and are confident that this was an unfortunate one off.”

A spokesman added: “Our regulatory services team has been made aware of this case and will investigate further.”