IT is a potent pong which remains a mystery to residents of an upmarket Hampshire neighbourhood.

Homeowners in Shootash, near Romsey, are blighted by a stink so bad they say it puts them off going in their gardens.

Even motorists passing through the area roll up their windows and close their air vents for fear the stench will waft into their cars.

They were adamant the foul sewage smell, which comes and goes depending on wind intensity and weather conditions, is coming from Viridor Waste Management, at Squabb Wood Landfill Site.

But when an Environment Agency inspector visited the site for three hours to carry out tests on roads in the area where complaints were received, they found no sign of the stench.

Owner of the Blue Hayes restaurant, Eric Lisle, said: “It is a very potent waste smell. It’s not very nice put it that way.

“It all depends which way the wind blows but you couldn’t sit in the garden. You really wouldn’t want to. It stinks.

“It is a real issue for the residents who live here.”

The Environment Agency received five complaints in December and has so far clocked up four complaints this month.

James Parker, 27, of Newtown Road, who runs his business Awbridge Arborists in the area, said: “I’m lucky not to smell it at home because it really devalues the area, but I drive back and forth for work and it stinks.

“I definitely wouldn’t want the windows to be open. It is a methane stench which makes you feel sick.”

Viridor has also received complaints but in a statement they assured they have the necessary machines running 24 hours to ensure no odours escape the site and when investigators carried out an inspection, no problem was found. The gassy odour has baffled the residents and is making its way to the town centre.

One resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I’m not too sure where it is coming from but it is heading towards Romsey town centre.

“Everybody can smell it. You can’t get your breath with it.

“It is bad, I tell you. Honestly it just keeps coming.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency, said: “We shall of course continue to monitor the situation, but there doesn’t appear to be a problem with the Viridor site.”