Fed-up residents and businesses in a Kettering street say a fly-infested building is giving them sleepless nights.
Several tonnes of waste appear to have been dumped inside the unit in Stamford Road, which was occupied by United Footwear until it closed in August 2017.
The unbearable stench, caused by the rubbish which is visible from the road, has attracted flies to swarm the area – even in the February cold.
Kamal Paul, whose Clarence Road home backs on to the site, said: “We are absolutely riddled with flies.
“We’ve used about five cans of fly spray to get rid of them but we can’t leave our windows open at all.
“It’s horrible and we’ve not slept for the past two nights because of it.
“If it’s not sorted soon there will be rats. The landlord can’t be blamed for this, it’s the tenant.”
Mr Paul added that he has shared his concerns with councillors from Kettering Council, which is working with the Environment Agency over the issue.
Helen Towell lives in Cornwall Road, just behind the site.
She said: “In my kitchen there’s at least 300 flies, I’m having to sweep them up.
“I’ve been through three packs of fly paper but I’m still having to respray the kitchen. They keep getting in.”
The infestation has been so bad that Stamford Road’s Co-op store temporarily ran out of fly repellant spray.
Barry Green, owner of A C Furnishings which is next to the site, said he had seen up to eight lorries a day empty rubbish at the site every day for a week-and-a-half.
He said: “They [flies] are crawling over all my shop.
“Everyone round here is suffering.”
Nicola Stearn, manager of Mmmmm... Sandwiches & Salads, said the stench is causing flies to enter the shop.
She said: “It’s embarrassing, we’re having to cover absolutely everything.
“We’re using fly spray twice a day to get rid of them.”
And Tania Muir, shop assistant at Empress Dry Cleaners opposite the site, said the flies were ‘giving her the heebie-jeebies’.
She said: “They’re getting everywhere.
“We kill them and hoover them but every time the door opens more come in.”
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said it is working closely with the individual who leases the property to ensure the removal of the waste.
The tenant has been given six weeks to remove the waste voluntarily.
The spokesman said: “Should the waste not be removed by March 8, we will review our position and consider further enforcement options that are available to us.
“We appreciate that this issue is a cause of concern to local residents and would like to reassure the community that we are taking all the appropriate steps to work towards removal of the waste.”
A Kettering Council spokesman said: “Kettering Council continues to work closely with officers in the Environment Agency to manage the situation locally and minimise any impact on local residents while their enforcement activity takes place.
“Council officers are in the process of making arrangements to deal with any recent nuisance issues, for example fumigation of the site, and have been in contact with local residents.
“We will continue to actively address matters should the owner be unable or unwilling to do so.”
To report illegal waste activity, call the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 807060 or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.