POLICE have reassured fearful residents that they are taking their concerns seriously after a crimewave in their neighbourhood.

Robberies and burglaries in Astley Bridge have left people scared to be in their own homes and a meeting with police has been arranged for this morning.

Inspector Mike Reid will be at the meeting to talk about GMP action and listen to residents' concerns.

Cllr Hilary Fairclough, who represents Astley Bridge, said: "I am afraid I tend to agree with residents, that policing is not up to scratch in the Astley Bridge area.

"I managed to get agreement with the police and community safety to attend a meeting with residents in order to have a full and frank discussion about what was happening in the area."

On Thursday, there was an armed robbery by a gang of three men at the Nisa Local convenience store in Ashworth Lane.

After the incident, residents said they were frightened by the amount of crime in the area and that they were worried for their children.

Cllr Fairclough said: "In respect of recent burglaries in Ashworth Lane, I accept that the police are having to deal with budget restraints and I would hope they are doing their best, but sadly many of the complaints are about communication with the police and the feeling they are just not interested.

"I have heard many stories from residents where they have reported incidents to the police and either been ignored or told they won’t be attending because there is nothing they can do. Residents rightly feel they are on their own."

In the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing, Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable, Ian Hopkins, said that the force was under real pressure, after losing nearly one in four officers in recent years.

He cited official figures showing GMP had 8,148 officers in March, 2010, and 6,297 in March last year.

Cllr Fairclough said: "It is not just the Ashworth Lane area of Astley Bridge that feels let down, we have residents all over the ward who feel the level of policing is inadequate and as a result don't even bother to report crime."

Despite her concerns, Cllr Fairclough said that she did have sympathy with the pressure that police are put under.

She said: "Although I am critical of the police's communication with councillors and the public, I do understand that policing has changed over the years for lots of reasons, not just because of lack of funding.

"We will never return to the heady days, if they ever existed, of a policeman on every corner, residents must take some responsibility themselves, far too often burglaries and break-ins are because premises, vehicles etc. are left unsecured and residents joyfully announce on social media that they are not at home, but thousands of miles away on holiday making it ideal for the opportunist criminal to have an easy time.

Residents and Cllr Fairclough will be meeting with police at Bank Top Church in Ashworth Lane today.

Cllr Fairclough said: "It's not just burglaries, residents have reported drug dealing and give details and descriptions but often feel that they are only paid lip service and very little changes, I think in our area residents are saying we understand your difficulties, we understand your pressures, but you just don’t communicate, we are not working together, and enough is enough — we deserve better."