Furious Matthew French has hit out at the council after it first refused to fix a drain leaking raw sewage into his back garden.

The Park South man discovered the leak on January 10 after noticing a smell in the garden, which he shares with the other five flats.

The drain is next to a manhole cover for the main sewage pipe out of the flats so Matthew and wife Ruth contacted the emergency out-of-hours repairs number at 5pm.

Despite making it clear the drain was in the back garden, the couple, who live in Kemerton Walk, say they were refused help and told to contact Thames Water.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Matthew. “They always do this. It’s typical with the council. They never want to admit to anything being their problem. It’s their property, but as soon as you mention sewage, they say it’s the water company’s problem.”

He added: “There is a clear diagram on their website showing what is their responsibility or the water company’s but they don’t even follow it.”

After contacting Thames Water the couple ended up staying up until past midnight waiting for it to be fixed. They were then told the job had been relegated over another emergency and someone would be round first thing in the morning.

The engineer came at 7.30am on the Monday as Matthew was heading off to work, and told the couple it was not something they could solve. The council had to sort the blockage.

Matthew said: “By then I was half expecting it because I knew I was right. "We gave the council the right information and they immediately turn round and say no. It doesn’t matter how much you argue with the guys on the emergency line you always get told no. They can’t keep doing this. It’s not right and I think basically they’ve been trained to say no to everything."

Ruth contacted the council again and by 10am the blockage, caused by wet wipes was cleared. Matthew said: “It was sorted in five minutes. I just don’t understand why they couldn’t come out on Sunday afternoon. It doesn’t need to take them so long to fix this. I was knackered the following morning because of having to stay up so late.

“The out of hours emergency number is for serious issues. Which it was in my opinion - it stinks, it’s full of germs and it’s a health hazard.”

A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “On this occasion our initial assessment was incorrect and this was rectified as soon as possible. We apologise unreservedly to our tenant for the delay it caused them in resolving this problem. We are making sure that all contact centre staff are aware of this case to ensure that this type of incident does not happen again.”