AN ‘enormous problem’ with overgrowing Japanese knotweed has left residents calling for help.

People living in Merlin Drive near Tinker Brook in Oswaldtwistle have been battling the problem for 18 months and were previously able to help cut down the weeds themselves.

However residents said after grass cutting stopped being carried out on the land by the council, the weeds grew too long and they were not able to be manage it themselves.

This came after they planted bird feeders, nesting boxes, shrubs and plants in the area.

Council bosses said they usually tackled knotweed issues at the start of the autumn, and they will treat this area of land then.

Merlin Drive resident Douglas Hayes, 80, said: “Eighteen months ago the residents began a regime of strimming every two days to keep this weed at bay.

“But now the knotweed and grass has grown to a point were the strimming could not control it.

“The weeds have just expanded.

“The area of shrubs and plants and garden furniture has been completely swallowed up, destroying all the work the residents have done.

“Complaints by residents have gone on for some time, its not made any difference.

“We have tried ourselves to have this weed eradicated but deaf ears prevail.”

The residents bought strimmers to control the weed themselves, but they were only small and not for heavy duty use.

Residents said therefore said when the knotweed began growing larger and more rapidly caught up in long grass, it meant they were unable to cut it.

There are now worries the weed could expand onto the land of Onward Homes, a social housing provider in the area.

Mr Hayes believes this will make the problem even harder to eradicate and cause greater problems to a larger number of people.

Cllr Paul Cox, cabinet member for environmental services on Hyndburn Council, said: “We usually treat Japanese knotweed on council land in September and October when it is dying down for the winter.

“This area of knotweed in Oswaldtwistle will be treated at the same time.”

Cllr Judith Addison, who represents the area on Hyndburn Council, sympathised with the residents involved.

She said: “It can do a lot of damage to an area, it’s an invasive species.”

Japanese knotweed arrived in Britain in the 1800s as an ornamental plant but has since become widespread, especially alongside roads and rivers.

It can cause damage to buildings, or block water channels if left to grow.