SHOCKING photos show a “post-apocalyptic” British housing estate left to rot after devastating floods, with graffiti warning "keep out of hell".
More than 100 derelict homes in Merthyr Vale, Wales lay empty and vandalised after being earmarked for demolition in 2008.
Residents say they had to abandon many personal belongings when they were turfed out of two streets in 2018 due to the risk of flooding from the River Taff.
But they are adamant there hasn't been a serious flood since 2008, with photojournalist Shaun Ashton, 28, insisting 1,290 local people need social housing.
Shaun’s team have been collecting abandoned family photographs left in the forgotten homes, which have been boarded-up.
He said: “It's devastating. [The streets were] almost post-apocalyptic – like a scene from [the film] I Am Legend.
"It's not very often you have that full length of the street empty. You're walking around and it's very eerie.”
He added: "Many homeless throughout south Wales were left on the streets during the ice cold winter we had – then the rain that followed.”
Shaun's photo shows the ghostly town covered in graffiti and broken glass.
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, which has so far bought 58 of the privately owned houses due to the flood risk, claim demolition will "hopefully commence" later this year.
Dad-of-six accused Shaun accused Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association – who own the houses on Taff Street and Crescent Street – of failing to use the homes properly.
The houses have been vandalised and stripped of metal, but Shaun claims they still “stand strong”.
One 86-year-old resident told him people had been “ripped from their community”, which Shaun found “gut-wrenching”.
Shaun said: "I find this heart-breaking… I don't think many of them will move on fully.
"Their frustration appears to be coming from the fact they were forced to leave their homes, leave behind their possessions in some cases and yet the houses are still there.
They were told that they were dangerous and yet they stand strong. They would all move back today if they were given the opportunity
"They were told that they were dangerous and yet they stand strong. They would all move back today if they were given the opportunity."
Residents told Shaun they were forced to leave without collecting possessions, including family photos.
Shaun and his team found family snaps scattered over floors.
They are trying to reunite the previous tenants with their cherished possessions.
He said: "We were told by a resident they'd have a few weeks to leave.
"But then as they left with one load of things from their property, there was a security company ready to board up that site and when they got back, they weren't allowed back in.
"Residents claim they've never been allowed back to collect the rest of their stuff, but we've now assisted them in getting their property back.”
The demolition program is due to commence later this year.
A spokesperson for Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council said: "We did not prevent owners from having sufficient time to arrange to move from their properties and worked with them to achieve this.
“Natural Resources Wales publish Development Advice Maps which highlight those areas at risk of flooding.
“Taff and Crescent Street are one of those areas.”
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