FAMILIES in Horwich say they have been plagued with a “massive infestation” of flies.

Residents say they have been unable to enjoy their gardens and had to keep windows and doors shut in the hot weather.

Nicky Wheeler, aged 50, has lived in her home for about 20 years and says she has never had anything like this before.

A family barbecue was ruined by the insects and the family had to move inside despite the fine weather because the flies were unbearable.

Mrs Wheeler, who lives in Rotherhead Close, said: “We thought it was because we back onto the forest, but it seems everyone is having this massive infestation. As soon as it’s warm, in five or 10 minutes we have 30 flies buzzing round.

“On Saturday we were in the back garden. I left the back door open and at one stage I had to completely close the kitchen off and spray everywhere, there must have been 60 or 70 flies.You can’t have your doors and windows open.”

Mrs Wheeler says the problem began as soon as the warm weather arrived and that friends and neighbours in Avonhead Close and Butterwick Fields have all reported the same thing.

She added that some people claimed the flies may have been coming from a recycling plant in nearby Rivington View Business Park. Mrs Wheeler said: ““We might be pointing the finger unfairly but it’s like a similar experience when I worked in Lancaster. There was a massive infestation one year and we had to get environmental services out.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “Officers are aware of the situation and are currently carrying out site investigating into possible sources.

“We are also working with Bolton Council to ensure any sites which may not be regulated by EA, are also considered.

“We are aware that one of our regulated sites J Dickinson’s (Horwich) Ltd is adjacent to a United Utilities sewage works which is regulated by EA in Cumbria and Lancashire and therefore we are also visiting the sewage works to assess the fly problem outside the site boundary of J Dickinson’s (Horwich) Ltd.”

J Dickinson and Sons declined to comment.