BUSINESSES have been evacuated in Darwen amid fears that buildings may collapse due to the heavy flooding.

A barber shop and solicitors on Railway Road are amongst those who have been told to leave their premises after a culvert collapsed at the back of the row of terraces.

Police, fire and ambulance are on standby at the scene with council officers to assess the risk.

They have warned that another heavy downpour would create serious problems.

Jamil Ahmed, owner of JD Barber Shop, on Railway Road – which backs on to Knott Street - was told by police at 11am to evacuate his shop.

He said: “The police told me to shut the doors and that I was in danger.

“I don’t know how long I will be shut for. It’s terrifying.”

There was a customer having his haircut at the time.

Elton Ashworth, partner at Watson Ramsbottom Solicitors said: “The police told us that it was unsafe and there was a chance it might collapse.”

Councillor Eileen Entwistle, who is also Mayor of Darwen, said: “It is a big concern for the businesses and residents around here.”