RESIDENTS living in a street plagued by yobs were breathing a sigh of relief this week when a grot-spot which attracted the offenders, was cleared.
People living in Owen Street, Accrington, complained to Hyndburn Council for over two years about troublemakers congregating on a patch of land where Clayton Laundry factory used to stand.
They said gangs of youths used a 12ft wall for cover as they fired ball-bearing guns, smash windows and risk their own safety by trespassing on to a rail line.
Hyndburn Council staff demolished the factory in October 2002, because it had become dangerous and were being broken into and vandalised.
But it wasn't until Tuesday that workmen moved in to demolish the wall, clear the land and erect a fence to stop people going on to the railway line.
While residents were angry with the delay, they said they are looking forward to a more peaceful future.
Geraldine Rothwell, of Owen Street, who is retired, said: "It really is disgraceful what people on this street have had to put up with.
"The woman next door has three children and I also have my daughter and granddaughter here. It is not right that they should have to deal with these problems."
She added: "The area is badly lit and easy for troublemakers to hide. If anyone complains about the trouble they just get a brick through their window.
"We are so glad the land is being sorted out and hopefully it will mean an end to all the trouble we have had.
Mrs Rothwell who created a huge banner thanking Network Rail for putting up a fence, added: "We are still angry that it has taken Hyndburn Council so long to do the work when we asked for it to be done two years ago and the Ombudsman asked the council to do the work months ago."
A Network Rail spokesman said: "What we have done is put in fencing with spikes on the top.
"Normally, we would put up a fence measuring 6ft high, but because of the particular problems we have had on that site we have made the fence bigger to solve the problem of people climbing onto the railway."
A Hyndburn Council spokesman said more work was not done on the site earlier because no-one knew who owned it and because it was not safe to remove the remaining wall.
He said the council supported discussions between the new land owners and Network Rail, leading to this week's work.
Hyndburn Council deputy leader Councillor Brian Roberts said "We are very pleased that this work has now been put in hand.
"Once the safety issues are dealt with, we intend to work with the owners to secure improvements to the site.
"The Cabinet has already identified this site a priority for future action."