Opportunistic scavengers targeting bins left out on non-collection days are causing an environmental hazard close to a conservation area, it has been claimed.
Rubbish left strewn on the ground blocked the pavement on Starkie Street in Preston at the weekend.
The mess has prompted calls for the council to take action with rats spotted among the mounds of rubbish.
Several residents to have contacted the Lancashire Post said bins are being left out and then people are rifling through them and scattering the contents on the street.
One complainant - who asked to remain anonymous - told the Post: “You couldn’t walk on the pavement at the weekend, it’s a health risk and has gone too far.
“The bins are being left out there 24 seven, it’s a total disgrace. Something needs to be done, the rubbish was there last week, over the weekend and yesterday.”
Another resident said: “I have seen rats running through the rubbish, the bins are left out and people are going through them. It’s an environmental risk.”
Starkie Street, which is part of the Winckley Square conservation area, was cleared by council waste teams on Monday.
The city council said it was aware of the concerns but a high turnover of tenants - with student and rental properties in the area - is a contributory factor.
A spokesman added there was already a scheme to highlight the impact of leaving bins out on non-collection days but acknowledged its response may be limited by budget constraints.
They said: “This is something we’re aware of and do have a ‘bins on streets’ initiative, which is effective in the short term. We do our best to raise awareness of consequences, but are operating with limited resources in an area with a high turnover of residents.”