Thousands of residents were left fuming after delays in rubbish and recycling collections left their streets littered.

Braintree Council has apologised after its collection schedule over the Christmas and New Year period was disrupted by a series of “freak” vehicle breakdowns.

Collections were up to a week late in some cases and the council was still trying to catch up this week.

Former Alec Hunter pupil Amanda James, 23, of Blenheim Close, Bocking, said: “I live in a block of 16 flats and we have no wheelie bins so rubbish is just left out in the courtyard."

Miss James’ rubbish was finally collected on Monday.

Streets in the Glebe Crescent and Church Street area of Witham were still strewn with rubbish after collection delays.

Brian Webb, of Glebe Crescent, said: “I am absolutely disgusted with the way they have dismissed the community over the Christmas period."

Wendy Schmitt, Braintree Council cabinet member for place, said: “Unfortunately we have suffered the freak occurrence of three vehicles suffering major breakdowns at the same time."