Residents received one final letter in which they were informed by Royal Mail that petrified posties would not be delivering again until piles of rubbish and waste food attracting the giant vermin are cleaned up.

Now occupants of flats in the service road behind London Road, Norbury, south London, will have to collect their mail from a delivery office or have it delivered elsewhere.

Local residents association chairman Ian Clarke, quoted in the Daily Mail, admitted: “There is a major problem with rats there. One of the residents there has got a problem with the rats getting into his car and causing damage by chewing things.

“There are various things that need doing as the rubbish is coming from the flats above the shops, the shops, and from people dumping there. I think we need CCTV cameras there.”

Royal Mail spokeswoman Sally Hopkins confirmed that deliveries had been stopped because of the danger to postmen and women. “We have temporarily suspended deliveries as the road is badly littered with rubbish, which has attracted many rats. Croydon Council has committed to clean up the road. Once we are happy that this has been done, we will be able to resume deliveries.”