A huge ‘hazardous’ pile of rubbish has finally been removed from Wokingham Road after almost a week of delay which saw part of the street turn into a cardboard obstacle course.

Refuse collection firm Biffa did not pick up rubbish from grocery shops near Palmer Park from Friday, April 10 to Tuesday, April 14, according to one shop owner, despite repeated calls to the company.

This led to huge mounds of rubbish being left outside the shops, creating a health hazard and lack of space amid coronavirus social distancing rules.

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Two regular collections were missed, on Friday, April 10 and Monday, April 13  plus another rescheduled collection on Tuesday before Biffa collected the rubbish yesterday (Wednesday, April 15).

The shops affected, on the stretch of the road near Palmer Park, included Big Bazaar and Rahim Stores.

A council spokesman had called the pile-up of waste “unacceptable”, while dozens of residents complained on social media about the pile-up of rubbish.

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Munir Latif, owner of Rahim Stores, said he had to cancel deliveries and slammed the company for the “nuisance” and “health hazard”.

A spokesperson from Biffa said there was an issue with some collections in the Reading area last weekend due to employee sickness.

Biffa apologised yesterday (Wednesday, April 15) for the inconvenience caused and collected the rubbish later that day.

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The waste management company added: “In this time of crisis, we are focused on delivering critical waste management services while doing our upmost to protect the health and safety of our employees.”

Biffa calls itself ‘number one for business waste’ but Rahim Stores owner Mr Latif claimed shops on Oxford Road were also experiencing problems with the company and said he would not renew his contract with the waste collection company.