ANGRY councillors inundated with complaints from residents have hit out at the way Poole council dealt with rubbish collections during the cold weather.

The council came under fire when it was the only authority locally to cancel collections for four days - from Monday to Thursday - during the icy spell in the week before Christmas.

While Poole cited "continuing severe winter weather" for keeping the refuse trucks off the roads until Friday, it was business as usual for Bournemouth, Christchurch, East Dorset, North Dorset and Purbeck from Wednesday - with teams working extra hours in some areas to catch up.

And due to the usual missed collection over Christmas, Poole's decision left some households with a three-week wait for their bins to be emptied - at a time when they are usually overflowing with extra rubbish anyway.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Branksome West Phil Eades said he had been "overwhelmed" with complaints.

"What I don't understand and what a lot of residents don't understand is that we could drive around a lot of roads which were completely passable - but the council took the decision to scrap whole rounds. They could have done the roads they could get to. There's no logic to it," he said.

He added: "It was mismanaged. The decision was taken too soon and too widely. Obviously there are health and safety issues for the bin men but this was over the top."

Alderney ward councillor Tony Trent said the council should have had a catch up plan. He suggested staff should have been paid extra to come in over the holiday, or agency staff hired in the interim - but was told it was too expensive.

"Other councils have caught up. Poole gave up too quickly or for too long," he said. "If this sounds costly it begs the question what are contingencies for?"

Cllr Don Collier, cabinet member for the environment at the Borough of Poole, apologised for the inconvenience but reiterated that collections were cancelled for safety reasons as a "large number of side roads remained icy."

He added: "We will be reviewing this course of action in the New Year to see what lessons can be learnt."