A GINNEL that runs close to two national supermarket chains in Darwen town centre has been labelled a ‘health risk’ after a resident saw a rat nearby.

Piles of rubbish has built up in Back Market Street, which runs between School Street and Union Street, close to the Asda and Iceland supermarkets.

And a resident said rodents had been seen in the area.

He said: “The rear of School Street is not only an eyesore but also a health risk.

“I am certain that I saw a rat a few days ago scurrying away.

“There are two national supermarket shops, one bargain shop, and two charity shops there.

“While the offending rubbish may not be theirs, surely they will want to avoid an infestation, even if they are not responsible for cleaning the area.

“This issue was passed on to the council about four or five weeks ago by our local councillors, but nothing is happening.

“There are now a number of loaves of sliced bread dumped there.”

Sunnyhurst councillor Dave Smith said the area had been cleaned up a few times recently.

He said: “There is a lot of stuff being dumped.

“That bit of Back Market Street, which is the council’s responsibility, has been cleaned up two or three times.

“There is bread and stuff which attracts rats and is not nice for the residents over-looking it.

“But the trouble is, people have been going in the bins and throwing stuff out.

“The charity shop bins have things like children’s toys in them so I think people go in looking for them.”

Coun Jim Smith, executive member for environment said: “We are taking action, working with local businesses to ensure that they keep their bins locked, and that inspections are carried out regularly.

“If problems continue, we will take any action within our power to ensure that this issue is resolved.

“This type of behaviour, littering our streets and blighting our community, is clearly unacceptable and we must do all we can to ensure that our streets are clean and safe.”