FAMILIES on a Hampshire estate were furious when rotting rubbish started piling up outside their homes.

But residents say they couldn’t believe it when binmen refused to remove the plastic sacks claiming they were too heavy to carry because of health and safety rules.

Problems started when parked cars prevented refuse collectors from driving their lorry up to the bin shed at Bluebell Gardens in Hythe.

People living in the quiet cul-de-sac had to endure a nauseating stink as the weeks went by and an ever-increasing number of bags began to accumulate.

Residents complained to the binmen – and say they were told that health and safety rules prevented them from carrying the sacks to their vehicle.

Householders hit by the stink included James Brown, 32, who said repeated calls to New Forest District Council failed to resolve the problem.

Mr Brown said he even resorted to flagging down a crew after they yet again failed to remove the mountain of around 40 black bin liners.

“We’ve been told they aren’t able to get their truck into the car park where the bin shed is because a parked car on the road makes it difficult for them to manoeuvre it in.

“I suggested that they could carry the bags out – but they said that because of health and safety rules they could be too heavy.

“I even offered to take them out for them.

“It was quite hard to believe because people have managed to take their bin bags to the shed, so they can’t be that heavy.”

Following intervention from the Daily Echo the rubbish has now been collected, ending a three-week nightmare for residents.

A council spokesman said: “Access issues caused by parked cars have unfortunately disrupted rubbish and recycling collections for the residents of Bluebell Gardens in recent weeks.

“Sometimes we are prevented from collecting waste but even in severe weather our aim is to remove rubbish within two weeks.

“Unfortunately this did not happen on this occasion, with parked cars blocking road access until the third week, and for that we apologise.

“The bags were heavy and split and could not have been carried the 50 metres to the council vehicle without the contents spilling out.”