DRUGS and prostitution is plaguing an area ‘let down’ by Burnley’s housing market renewal programme, claim neighbours.

Boarded-up homes and dirty back yards in the Heap Street area of Duke Bar are rife with needles and rubbish, residents have told councillors.

Neighbours spokesman Sadiq Miah said at a full council meeting that some of the properties in Heap Street and neighbouring Rylands Street and Ford Street had been empty for more than 15 years.

“People use these homes as dumping grounds for rubbish, which are a fire hazard and a biological hazard,” said Mr Miah.

“The rubbish attracts pests likes rats and pigeons, which carry diseases.

"I’m a father of two children and the neighbours have kids as well.

“There is also drugs and needles lying around the area and the back yards are often used for prostitution.”

The concerns follow the Lancashire Telegraph’s story two weeks ago about similar concerns being raised in the Burnley Wood area.

Prostitution concerns were also highlighted earlier in the year by people living in and around Hebrew Road in Daneshouse.

Coun Martin Smith, the council’s housing cabinet member, said that he understood the frustrations of residents.

But he insisted that a number of operations had been conducted by the borough’s street-scene officers, to clean up the district.

“There is also Operation Foothold, which is tackling kerb crawlers, sex workers and child exploitation,” he said.

Housing regeneration work stalled in Stoneyhome and Daneshouse after development partners Gleesons withdrew from the area.

But several blocks have been demolished and facelifting work undertaken.