A GRIME busting assault on the streets has been launched, with the aid of state-of-the art weaponry and an army of cleaners.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has declared war on rubbish to try and stem the growing problems with litter right across the borough.

Each year the council spends £1.2million cleaning the streets of Blackburn and Darwen and employs an army of 23 street cleaners. And Darwen Street has been highlighted as one of the worst grotspots because of the number of takeaways in the area.

It is hoped the recruitment of a high-tech 'Johnston' street washer, which the council hires from a specialist cleaning company, plus the drafting in of further street sweepers, will help win the battle on litter in Blackburn and Darwen town centres. Extra staff will also be deployed on market days.

The borough's back streets are set for a new onslaught too, as a new programme of street cleaning around Blackburn and Darwen gets under way. Back streets will be targeted eight times a year, an increase on previous years' quarterly clean-ups.

The new high-tech street washer can be deployed anywhere where there are problems with grime, while street sweepers will be battling against the litter mainly in town centre areas, where problems are greatest.

Councillor Ashley Whalley and Councillor Dave Smith helped to spruce up the streets yesterday as the new weapon against grime takes to the streets for the first time in Blackburn town centre.

Councillor Whalley said: "We already have street sweepers that operate across the borough. This new machine is on trial, but we hope it will help combat the heavy littering and grease problems we get on certain streets.

"In an ideal world people would use the many bins we provide and not drop litter and rubbish to make our streets untidy.

"With this new machine and our army of street cleaners, we are making Blackburn with Darwen a better place to live in and to visit. We will not tolerate dirty streets and are committed to improving all of our borough."