A MAJOR clean up operation was launched after around eight homes and a shop were flooded by heavy rain.

Water swept into properties in Sudellside Street, Darwen, from around 3pm yesterday with up to a foot of water on the ground floor.

Fed up residents said it was the fourth time their homes had been swamped by water in 18 months.

United Utilities engineers were on the scene as they tried to find the problem.

Hassan Ahmed, whose family have run the Best One shop for the past 25 years, said: “This is the fourth time this has happened in 18 months. It is a nightmare.

“The last time United Utilities gave us a pump to get rid of any water but it just can’t cope with the velocity it is coming in at.

“We’ve been trying to get the water out all afternoon. I think we’ve managed to save most of the stock, but we’ve obviously lost out on the busiest time of the week, Friday night.

“It’s not so much the money though, it is the hassle that it causes us.”

Last night the family were still sweeping water out of the shop.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “There is about a foot of water all across the ground floor.

“We’ve had to take up all the carpets, but it is rotting the bottom of the stairs and the skirting beds.

“There is also property in there that is going to be damaged and is going to cost us money.”

Coun Roy Davies, who represents the ward, said: “It’s around eight houses that are affected. The community are really pulling together and the community centre is open.

“It’s ground floors that are affected and United Utilities are looking into the problem but something has to be done, it isn’t fair on these residents.

“People are trying to pump water out of their homes and try and save property. It has rained very heavily and that has obviously caused the problems.“