VILLAGERS in Hoddlesden were given a rude awakening by workmen with chainsaws.

Bernadette Woods of Queen’s Square, was unable to get back to sleep at 5.40am after being blasted for 20 minutes by the machine’s noise as the village Christmas tree was erected.

Four men, contracted by Blackburn with Darwen Council, used the saw to cut the bottom of the tree into shape.

Short video clip of the workers in action

The council has now apologised, saying the noise was ‘unacceptable’.

Mrs Woods, 52, said: “I was having trouble sleeping anyway as my husband goes out to work cleaning the streets at 3am, and I had just begun to doze off again when the chainsaw started.

“Why couldn’t they have done the trimming at the yard before bringing it here?

I went outside to ask them to stop but they couldn’t hear me.

"There were four of them, a load of vehicles and flashing lights.

“At these times of economic hardship and cutbacks, do we really need all that?”

She added: “We’ve lived here for eight years and never had this before.

"They usually put the tree up at 9pm, which is fine. I’m not against having the tree.

"I’m sure it’ll look lovely when it’s decorated, but there was no need for the early-morning start.”

The tree, which has not yet been decorated, stands in the village green, near the war memorial.

Another resident of Queen’s Square, who asked not to be named, said: “I heard the noise and thought they were cutting the grass.

“It was ridiculously early to be doing the work, and it’s also too early to be putting up Christmas trees on Armistice Day.”

Peter Hunt, director of regeneration and environment, said: “We apologise for the disturbance.

“The contractors were delivering the trees to the village and they went early to avoid blocking off the road with their large vehicle.

"But using a chainsaw at that time in the morning is not acceptable.”