Council chiefs have given much-criticised refuse collection firm Sita six weeks to sort out its act.

The move follows complaints about uncollected bins and rubbish on the streets which have flooded in since the firm reorganised rounds in Brighton and Hove earlier this year.

Today council leader Lynette Gwyn-Jones described Sita's service as "abysmal".

The council has now given Sita until November 28 to bring refuse collection and street cleansing up to a "satisfactory performance level".

The ultimatum came after a crunch meeting between the company's executives and council chiefs.

Councillor Gwyn-Jones said: "The existing service is abysmal. The company is providing residents with a totally unsatisfactory refuse collection service and this has had a knock-on effect for other council services.

"I fail to understand why the same refuse bins are being missed time and time again.

"We have asked Sita to prepare a detailed action plan within the next few days that will show how the company intends to bring its performance level back up to the quality service residents expect and pay for."

According to the council, Sita executives say they accept their obligation to bring the service up to scratch.

They say they have already made improvements, invested in new management structures, staff and equipment, and will introduce more changes to improve the service in early November.

The service has been plagued with problems since, culminating in chaos when rounds were revised in August.

Rubbish piled up in the streets and many households went weeks without their bins being emptied.

The council's Tory group leader Geoffrey Theobald said: "I am still receiving complaints about the service. It is good to see the council leadership taking a bit of interest.

"It would be good to know what they have in mind if they have issued that kind of ultimatum."

No one from Sita was available for comment.