OVERFLOWING bins in rural villages are causing a growing rat population, a councillor has claimed.

Large bins which have been placed at a collection point in Entwistle have started piling up with rubbish and Cllr Colin Rigby said people have complained about vermin. The collection point in Edge Lane was one of many introduced by Blackburn with Darwen Council in September.

The council, however, has said it has had no reports of rats.

People living on unadopted roads in villages including Entwistle, Edgworth, Pickup Bank and Belthorn were told they would have to take their rubbish to a collection point rather than having it taken away from their homes.

It came just after the council implemented fortnightly bin collections instead of weekly ones. Cllr Rigby said: “Nobody ever considered how this would affect residents. A woman living in Entwistle has contacted me complaining that she can hear rats in her home because a couple of bins are overflowing. I understand that it is a difficult situation the council is in and the officers are doing the best they can but it is a total mess.

“Because the bins are not lockable, anyone who walks past is just thinking that’s handy I will put by rubbish in there. It’s been a ridiculous situation.”

The council said collecting from unadopted and unmade lanes was ‘extremely costly’ and the condition of some of the roads has caused damage to refuse vehicles.

Since the beginning of October, rubbish collections have alternated each week between general waste and recycling.

A council spokesman said: “Our pest control service has received no reports of any rats and there have been very few reports of side waste next to bins. For the holiday period, we advise residents to use their bins appropriately and recycle as much as they can. Additionally, the council is introducing, from January 8, the free collection of textiles and small electrical items, as per the leaflets distributed to all households prior to Christmas.”