AN alleyway where a teenager was allegedly raped is not safe and should be “gated off”, according to nearby businesses.

The 18-year-old was said to have been dragged into St George’s Court at about 4am on Thursday and raped by a man.

The alleyway behind the Founders Arms pub is an unlit dead-end road, where businesses in Bridge Street, St George’s Street and All Saints’ Street have rear entrances.

Lauren Chambers, who helps run Pole Fitness Studios, said: “It is dark down there, no lights or anything. We finish here at 10pm, 11pm or midnight.

“We have to park in that road so we have to walk there alone after dark to get our cars.

“There is nothing there, it is a dead-end, people should not be walking in that alley at all.

“A gate would be a help because late at night and early in the morning it is really quiet.

“When we are closing up on our own at night it is not safe.”

Anthony Cross, landlord of The Founders Arms for the last 14 years, said: “The area is okay, but because there is access down there, people often come and dump rubbish which has attracted rats in the past.

“The alleyway is a problem really. It is desolate at night-time.”

Police have stepped up patrols in the area since the alleged rape.

Bolton Council refused to comment on whether a gate would be considered.

On its website it lists several factors as being key to whether applications are successful, including the level of crime or anti-social behaviour, the availability of funding, the highway status of the alleyway and the number of objections to any proposed change.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.