Rats are plaguing uncollected rubbish outside Sutton flats, say residents who claim to have already endured a summer of maggots and stenches that left them unable to open their windows.

Residents of Elstead Court, Stonecot Hill, and High Trees, in Epsom Road, are complaining that rubbish has not been collected for more than three weeks by contractors Veolia and now both areas allegedly have rats.

Sutton Council hired Veolia to take-over refuse collections in a controversial move last year, with the company taking over collections from April 1.

Since then it has apparently been beleaguered with setbacks, from ‘mechanical failures’ to problems learning new routes.

Nearly one year in, some flats using outdoor bin stores still have unreliable refuse collections and #SuttonBinShame continues to be a popular Twitter hashtag.

Denise Smith, whose daughter lives in High Trees, said: “Over three weeks of reporting missed collections and neighbours complaining – nothing has been done. Now rats and a fire hazard.”

Mrs Smith said that now three of the four bins have been emptied as of today (February 14).

Another woman, who does not want to be identified, said: “Residents living here are in uproar over the situation, they are complaining that they are not getting the services from the council they pay for in their service charges and council tax.

“How much longer do we have to wait before someone deals with this issue? Last summer was appalling with no regular collections.

“The bin cupboard vents are only 4ft away from residents’ windows, so it was impossible to have them open during the summer months because of the stench of rotting food.

“Even the maggots were escaping under the bin cupboard doors onto the main entrances.

“Rat droppings were noticed around the bins themselves, and rats were getting in through the cupboard vents.

“Someone from the London Borough of Sutton needs to take responsibility.”

A spokesperson for Veolia in Sutton said: "We have cleared the recycling and waste at Elstead Court and addressed the issues at the block, we will ensure that the collections operate correctly from now on."