ANGRY residents vented years of frustration last night over a chicken farm they say is blighting their picturesque village.

Cockfield nestles in rolling Teesdale countryside and would be a desirable place to live if was not for the stench of chicken waste and millions of bluebottle flies which feed on the decay, they said.

More than 100 residents attended a public meeting in the village community centre to list a catalogue of complaints.

One resident claimed to have seen a chicken left to die on a fetid pile of waste.

Some said they had to keep their windows closed, and others said they resorted to wearing handkerchiefs across their mouths, even when they were in their own homes.

In one case, a man with cancer was forced to leave his home for a day because the smell became too much to bear.

Teesdale District Council's chief executive, Charles Anderson, and head of environmental health Howard Stainthorpe were told: "There has been a prolonged stench from the chicken farm. We have had to endure an unacceptable amount of insects."

Mr Anderson replied: "I know that there is a smell problem here. I know it can be very bad at times and that it can be not so bad at other times.

"The number of people here is testimony to that fact."

Paul Gibson, owner of the farm at Bleak Terrace, was not at the meeting.

He was served with three statutory notices last Saturday, forcing him to rectify the problem