A petition has been launched calling for a wall knocked down 20 years ago to be repaired following persistent problems with fly-tipping and rats.

The area behind a row of shops in Hillcrest Road, South Woodford, is being used as a rubbish dump, according to those who live in the street.

It is claimed a lorry knocked the wall down around 20 years ago and it was never repaired, leaving the area vulnerable to fly-tipping.

The area is owned by the businesses but neighbours claim they are refusing to pay for a new wall, and residents have now turned to the council for help.

A petition has been launched by people living in the road calling on the council to put pressure on the businesses to act.

It attracted more than 100 signatures in its first week, with 2,000 needed to trigger a council debate.

Roger Hammond, 67, of Hillcrest Road, started the petition.

He said: “It is a complete mess. A week ago someone else fly tipped there, and it seems to be a regular occurrence.

"Rubbish is being dumped there constantly, we have seen an infestation of rats there and the area is also being used as a toilet, it has become a health issue.

“If there was a wall and gate there then this would not happen. It is really simple and cheap thing to do and we are calling on the council to help us put pressure on businesses to get this sorted.

“I have lived here for over 30 years and this problem has been going on for 20 years. We have been waiting for ages for the wall to be fixed but it has just been left, and the situation is getting worse."

Joel Herga, of Church End Conservatives Action Group, said: "This is an issue that is really affecting peoples’ lives.

"Residents should not have to put up with what is an eyesore and a public health problem."

Redbridge council has been asked to comment.