SHOP owners have hit out at the 'unacceptable level' of aggressive begging which they said is plaguing their business.

Marie and George Batty opened up Bat-House Emporium on Rigby Street in Nelson in 2013, and said beggars have tormented their business regularly since.

The pair said the problem is impacting on their trade and they want police and council chiefs to clamp down on the issue.

Mr Batty said: "There are several of them and you'll have them literally begging on the street outside the doorway.

"They will stop people coming into the shop and are drunk and being generally aggressive and swearing and being abusive towards the public and ourselves.

"They drink around the corner where the shops are on Manchester Road.

"It's just generally anti-social and is unacceptable."

Despite the pair complaining to the police and council, they said nothing has been done to address the problem.

Mr Batty added: "We're reported this to Pendle Council and the police.

"The police did come round to our shop in June but nothing has been done about it.

"We just want it to be sorted as it's really impacting on our trade and putting customers off from coming into the shop."

Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Council, said the matter has been reported to the police.

He said: "I've never seen any begging outside the shop.

"But the matter has been reported to the police and will be dealt with accordingly.

"I would urge people to not give money to beggars as you can't be sure what it will be spent on.

"As a council we do know that some of these beggars have been offered support but don't take it and continue to live their own lifestyles."

Lancashire Police said it had been called to a report of a 'nuisance' at the shop at around 1.45pm on June 28.

The American shop sells Wild West gear and has recently expanded into next door.

Stock includes leather jackets, leather motorbike waistcoats, American Indian dream catchers, and Western gear including lots of cowboy-style and trilby hats and metallic bolo ties which lots of the Wild Westers wore.

There is even American Civil War jackets, walking sticks, pictures of America and some historical American and British items, too.

The pair opened the gift shop six years ago after they had previously been at Nelson, Burnley and Accrington Markets.