TEENAGE yobs bombarded the homes of frightened residents with mud for more than an hour during a bizarre attack.

A gang of 12 used a homemade device to scoop mud from a nearby field and fired dozens of clods of earth at houses in Exeter Street, on the Mill Hill and Ewood border in Blackburn.

Residents, including pensioners, said they felt under siege and terrified during the attack, which was the latest in a series of incidents involving teenage gangs in the Mill Hill area.

Last week, groups from as far afield as Preston were said to be visiting the community and causing trouble, prompting police to take steps to ban youths congregating in the area.

However, seven calls were made to police by residents during the mud throwing on Monday night, but officers did not attend until after the offenders had fled.

Residents criticised the police response, but bosses said there were other incidents which meant they could not send any officers right away.

Janet Talbot only moved to Grafton Street at the corner of Exeter Street last Wednesday and said she was shocked by the incident.

She said: "We were petrified. It was terrifying and frightening.

"They used metal or plastic rods to scoop up my lawn.

"I could see them digging the earth out with them then launching from the rods at the four houses opposite me, as you would if you were firing a cannonball.

"I got my grandson David and we walked through the front door past the youths and crossed the road to a neighbour's house.

"I have a mild form of autism and David suffers from Asperger's Syndrome.

"I don't whether it's the autism which gave us courage to leave but one thing I do know is they didn't expect us to come out of the house.

"They just looked at us then carried on digging and shooting the earth."

Marjorie Bradshaw, 66, of Exeter Street, said she was angry police had not turned up right away, despite the calls.

She said: "Elderly people live on this street and we wanted help but nobody came. It was very disappointing.

"You can't shout at them or do anything to defend yourself because you don't know what they will do to you.

"What would they do if it was their grandmother and elderly relative someone did this to?

"I've had enough, this was one of the quietest areas but there is always some form of nuisance going on."

Another resident, on Emily Street, who was targeted said: "We were under siege. It was frightening.

"What reason do they have to do that to us?

"This is the worst I have seen it. There should be an unmarked police vehicle watching this area."

Coun Florence Oldfield, Ewood ward councillor, said: "I am working with the police to solve this problem.

"We have never had anything like this in the area before."

Coun Maureen Bateson, also a ward councillor, said: "We will work with local residents and police to resolve problems in the area."

Sergeant Colin Dassow, who is charge of the area's neighbourhood policing team, said inquiries were ongoing into the incident.

He said: "We are treating this incident very seriously and need the community's held in order to catch those responsible.

"I have been speaking to local residents about the issue and liaising with Groundwork in order to further clean up the area.

"I am looking at a longer term solution for local residents in order to resolve the recent problems of anti-social behaviour in the area."

A police spokesman said the first call was at 8.06pm and an officer was on the scene by 9.17pm, but the offenders had gone.

The spokesman said that Monday had been a busy night with officers attending many incidents.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ewood neighbourhood policing team on 01254 353921.