TORRENTIAL rain brought chaos to Accrington's new outdoor market this week.
Shocked traders watched in horror as water cascaded into their stalls on Tuesday, causing damage to their stock.
Dozens of stallholders raced against the clock to scoop up stock from the floors and the front of their stalls.
The rain came down so hard that large puddles formed on the floor, making it difficult for customers to carry out their shopping. Several traders were forced to pack up their items and close for the day.
Trader Gus Divito, who has run his household items stall for five years, said: "The drain- pipes overflowed and it was just non-stop."
"The troughings can't take the pace of the water. The drains are higher than the floor and the pavement tips the water towards the market."
Mr Divito had to remove boxes from the front of his stall as the water was splashing into them. He said: "The water has damaged boxes of bulbs, VHS cassettes and bin bags. The seals will peel off and they will be no use now."
Another trader Mr Farzand Ali, who runs a clothes stall, said: "It's terrible. Customers just vanish when this happens. The traders pack up and go home. It is ridiculous when you consider the amount we pay in rents."
"It has been two years since they built this market and this keeps on happening. It took me 45 minutes to clean up my stall."
Treasurer of the Accrington Market Traders' Federation Tony Marsden, who runs a sock and underwear stall, said: "We have been arguing about this since the market opened last April."
"We have been fighting to get all these jobs done. I go to the Markets Board meetings every time they organise one."
"We are having the same problems. We have been waiting for new draining for the fish market and work on the guttering. Every time it rains we have this cleaning-up job. Everybody is sick to the back teeth with this. It's been going on for far too long."
Other traders placed sand- bags behind doors in a bid to prevent water pouring in.
Mrs Janette Gregson, who runs the Pet Centre stall, added: "Some of the dog beds were soaked through. It shouldn't have to be like this."
Peter Britcliffe, leader of Hyndburn Council, said: "It rained exceptionally hard on Tuesday and we need to look into the situation to see what can be done. We should discuss it at the Markets Board when it next meets."
Mr Nigel Rix, director of Hyndburn Council's regeneration arm Hyndburn FIRST, said more work would be done on the pavilions over the next few weeks.
He added: "The guttering and rainwater arrangement for the market pavilions are among a snagging list for the contractors and developers to rectify."
"The council would apologise for the flooding that occurred but the force of the rain was exceptional."
"We expect work will be undertaken to rectify the gullies and drainpipes in the pavilions during the next month or two."