By Kiro Evans, local democracy reporter
Bexley locals are relieved their bins have finally been collected following weeks of foxes and rats invading the area and rubbish being set on fire.
The build-up of rubbish over two months had seen local children start setting some of the overflowing garbage alight.
Residents in Walsingham Walk, Bexley, say they “lost count” of how long they have been waiting for the trash to be taken away.
Bexley council said absences among bin staff due to Covid and the level of contaminated waste led to the delay.
NHS district nurse Eileen Johnson was among those relieved.
She said: “I can empty my cardboard now! I’ve got loads of it.
“It was really piling up. And some of the kids had started setting light to the rubbish that fell out of the bin on fire.”
“There’s also [young people] leaving the [laughing gas] cannisters behind. It was a mess.”
One of Eileen’s neighbours, Thembi Mhlophe, was also happy to see the rubbish go.
She said: “I lost count how long it had been there for. No matter how many times we reported it, nothing was done.
“It was terrible [before]. We saw a few rats there, and if the rodents come, the foxes come. It’s a menace.
“And that [the area where the bins are] is [at] the entrance to our visitors. It’s appalling.
She added that she suspected families from other roads starting using their large bins after they themselves ran out of space.
Neighbours told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that those rogue residents dumping items in the wrong bins likely contributed to the collection delay, as binmen judged them to be “contaminated”.
Opposition Bexley councillor Wendy Perfect inspects some full bins
Opposition Bexley councillor Wendy Perfect, whose ward includes Walsingham Walk, was alerted of the delay two days ago.
Standing in front of the overflowing bins, she tweeted: “There is clearly still problems in our rubbish and recycling service. Residents in Walsingham Walk have told me it’s been like this for eight weeks. This is particularly galling as many of these residents are elderly. I’m now on the case!”
Bexley was revealed to be top of the London list for missed bin collections and bin complaints earlier this month.
This follows last year’s “summer of stink”, when bin staff went on strike for seven weeks.
A Bexley council spokesperson said: “These bins have now been emptied. They are recycling bins that had been contaminated with other materials which meant they could not be collected on the usual round.
“A separate waste collection vehicle is usually sent to the area to empty contaminated bins.
“Due to an increase in Covid related absences this did not happen and we apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”