A quiet Nelson street is becoming a breeding ground for rats and looks like "a scene from 16th century London" according to angry residents.
The creatures have been spotted gnawing their way through wheelie bins in Burns Street and also foraging in the dozens of rubbish bags that are strewn across the back street.
And in the latest incident one resident was left in tears after a rat scuttled past her as she was hanging out washing in her back yard.
A spokesman for the residents said: "This poor lady was in tears, it was awful for her.
"She has lived in this house with her husband since the 1950s but they want to leave because of this."
The residents are now calling for Pendle Council to sort out the problem which they claim has been going on for at least three months.
Neighbours have taken numerous photographs and video footage to prove their case.
The spokesman added: "There does not appear to be a bin at one of the properties but there is a great deal of rubbish and waste that just seems to get dumped in the yard and the back street.
"There are bags that have been ripped open with food spilling out of them and also used nappies just tossed anywhere.
"This is a quiet street and many neighbours take pride in their property so this is heartbreaking."
A former resident said he was "disgusted" at the amount of rubbish and litter he had seen.
He said: "It is usual to see rats running round because the amount of rubbish that is just tossed anywhere is appalling.
"People should not have to live in conditions like this, this is not 16th century London, but it certainly feels like it here."
Philip Mousdale, who is Corporate Director of Pendle Council, said the authority was aware there was an issue with rats in Burns Street and the pest control team has stepped up baiting treatments and pest proofing in areas where they had been spotted.
He said: "Where there are rats at a property we need residents to report this to us and request a visit from our pest control team.
“It costs just £29 per course of treatment and can be booked online –www.pendle.gov.uk/pestcontrol."
Philip explained that rats will infest anywhere they can find regular sources of food, water and safe shelter.
He added: “We’ve visited the property whose backyard was reported to be full of rubbish, food and used nappies and requested that they clear the area within 14 days.
“We’ll also ensure that they obtain adequate bins.
“Our advice to residents and businesses is only put out waste for collection either the night before or by 7.30am on the day of collection if possible.
“And if you notice that you’re throwing away food you could reduce your weekly shopping.
“Food should be wrapped before going into the bin and wash out cans and bottles before recycling them.”
Philip added: “Our Environmental Crime Team has visited the Burns Street area to look at fly-tipped rubbish, which also attracts rats.
“We’ve traced who dumped the rubbish and will prosecute them.”
To report rats in a public area go to www.pendle.gov.uk/rats where you can fill in a simple form.
In a bid to reduce the rat population and keep streets and neighbourhood vermin free Pendle Council has come up with some tips and advice which include:
* Don’t feed the pigeons in our town centres and public areas. The rats love the food you throw down for them more than the bait used to catch them.
* Don't let rubbish build up outside
* Keep food in rat proof containers and always clear up spilled food straight away
* Make sure that buildings which store food are secure against rats. Block holes in walls, floors and doors and fill in gaps around possible entry points
* Keep vegetation short and tidy
* Don’t put oil, fat or food down your drains
* Use a strainer in your sink
Food put out for birds in back yards and gardens can often attract rats so the tips to stop this include:
* Feed them little and often
* Change where you leave the food – rats don’t like new things and will be cautious about food in a new place.
* Use feeders with a catcher tray underneath, to stop food falling to the floor and don’t let the food go off – the birds won’t eat it, but rats will
* Use ‘anti-squirrel’ feeders as they are also ‘anti-rat’
* Feed birds earlier in the day as they eat during the daytime. Rats usually come out at night
Compost bins are also havens for rats where they can find food and shelter so to keep them vermin free follow these simple steps:
* Bury food scraps within the compost
* Don't put meat and dairy scraps in
* Keep the compost moist (not wet). This reduces the chance of rats making it their home
If rats are problem the advice is to stop putting food out altogether and if possible plant mint in your yard or garden as rats hate it.