ANGRY residents formed a human barricade to stop binmen leaving their street in a row over uncollected rubbish.
Defiant parents and children on Birks Road, Longwood, told refuse collectors: “You shall not pass.”
They had reached the end of their tethers after watching household waste build up in the weeks since bin collections were interrupted by the Kirklees Council workers’ strike on July 16 and 17.
People power eventually won the day when the binmen backed down and agreed to remove the offending rubbish.
But not before police had been called over allegations that a public highway had been illegally obstructed.
After yesterday’s stand-off mum-of-two Rebecca Jones said: “I’m pleased they’ve taken the rubbish, but there was no reason for it to have come to this.
“This could have been resolved weeks ago if they had just been reasonable.”
Residents say that after the strike bins were emptied but that extra bin bags were left on the side of the road.
They contacted the council to ask for a special collection and were told a ‘rapid response’ vehicle would be sent to remove them.
But the rubbish was still lying on the side of the road two weeks later.
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: “There were dirty nappies and all sorts in the bags that were being ripped open and strewn all over the road. It’s disgusting. There are a lot of children who play on the street – it’s really unhygienic.”
The situation came to a head yesterday when the wagon turned up for its normal collection but the crew said they could not take the extra bags.
Residents offered to load them on to the back of the truck but were told they were not allowed.
Father-of-one Mark Copley then used his car to block the lorry in.
He said: “We were offering to do the work ourselves but they were just being difficult.”
The excess bags were taken, but then the collection team attempted to leave without emptying the bins.
At that point residents, led by Mr Copley, formed their human wall.
After a further 15-minute stand-off the bins were emptied and the wagon left.
But resident Andy Clarke, who was not part of the dispute, said he was concerned about how it would affect future collections.
He said: “I worry about the bigger picture. What happens when the bins are next due to be emptied?
“I sympathise with the other residents – my wife and I struggled enough and it’s just the two of us, but others have children.”
A council spokesman said the binmen had acted properly.
He said: “The collection crews always do their best to collect everyone’s waste.
“Individual residents can sometimes become agitated and frustrated, and the aim of the crew is to deal with such situations calmly, listen to residents’ concerns – and then get the job of collecting everyone’s refuse and emptying everyone’s bins done.
“This incident was quickly resolved, in line with what we would expect of our collection crews.
“All the refuse was collected. We always respond to any calls we receive from householders.”