RESIDENTS were asked to help council bosses keep Blackburn streets free of vermin after a petition was handed in.

Dozens of reports of rats blighting Blackburn streets have led to a petition to the council.

People living on Warrington Street, Providence Street and Beardswood Street, Little Harwood, have repeatedly raised the issue with Blackburn with Darwen Council in recent years.

And now a petition has been submitted to the council after residents reported problems with rats and mice getting into people’s lofts and homes.

But council bosses say they have cleaned the area repeatedly and that some of the blame lies with residents.

Borough growth and development chief, Cllr Phil Riley, pleaded with people living in the area to stop leaving food out for animals and birds.

He said it was attracting vermin and that it would keep happening unless people stopped doing it.

But Cllr Riley said the council was duty-bound to clean up the mess if the problem continues.

"We would really like the residents to help themselves," Cllr Riley said.

"We do clean up regularly in this area and we find that people are putting food out for animals.

"It's not entirely surprising that it also therefore attracts rats.

"As a council, we will continue to go and clean up but residents should play their part too."

The petition states: “We have had this issue for the past three years.

“Residents have rung the pest control department but this has not been resolved.

“This is a very serious matter. Residents are seeing mice and rats in their homes and can hear them in ceilings and lofts.

“Something urgently needs to be done.”

Executive member for environmental services, Cllr Jim Smith, said: “The pest control team act on numerous requests for rodent issues across the borough and do eradicate problems from properties, however, unless the residents follow the advice which is provided at the time of visit, rodents will return, due to a readily available food sources and access points.

“In Warrington Street it has been identified that some residents do leave waste out loose, which includes food, within their properties and in the back street, which encourages rodents.

“The residents of the area will be leafleted explaining the need to manage their waste properly.

“The council also operates a clear-all policy and any extra bagged refuse left in the back street is cleared at the same time as the refuse collection service.

“The council also offers a free pest control service for residents that have rodent issues.

“The leaflet provided to the residents will contain advice and guidance on the matter.”

Cllr Smith added since April 2018, the authority had received 15 reports of waste-related issues for Warrington Street, 14 from Providence Street and three from Beardswood Street which backs on to Warrington Street, with the fly-tipped waste removed on each occasion.

Cllr Smith said: “The pest control officers, at their visits, do advise occupiers of any works which need carrying out and it is the home owner’s responsibility to carry out this work and ensure their properties are kept free of rodents.

“For each complaint, up to three visits are provided by the pest control officer.”