A WAVE of crime has hit Tyldesley town centre.

Staff and customers at Ladbrokes betting shop on Elliott Street were shocked when a man wielding an iron bar burst in and threatened staff and stole cash.

The robber entered the shop at about 7.25pm on Thursday when there were two customers inside. He went up to the cashier and hit the metal bar against the counter and demanded cash. Money was handed over and the man walked out.

He is described as being white, slim, about 5ft 9in tall, and in his mid to late 20s. He wore a grey/blue hooded top and white gloves, which could have been be cyclist's or cricketer's style. A light coloured scarf covered the lower part of his face and he used a laced JD Sports bag to carry the money.

Detective Constable Andrew Hill said: "Thankfully nobody was hurt although those affected have been badly shaken up.

"Clearly this man has no issues in intimidating members of the public and members of staff to get what he wants. I would urge any witnesses who could help us to get in touch."

Less than 24 hours later an employee at Greenhalgh's confectioners shop on the Market Square was robbed as she took the shop takings to the Lloyds TSB bank next door.

The robber snatched her bag containing cash and ran off. A motorist who stopped his car to intervene and gave chase but the thief escaped.

In another incident further west along Elliott Street a raider with a knife went into The Weekender off licence and demanded cash.

In the case of the Greenhalgh's and The Weekender incidents neither Greater Manchester Police nor the management of the businesses had responded to the Journal's request for a response by the time we went to press.

A town centre trader, who asked not to be indentified, told the Journal: "This is not something that we are familiar with in Tyldesley. It has made people more conscious and more wary and some traders are now considering upgrading security."

Opportunist thieves took advantage of scaffolding outside Tyldesley Library in Stanley Street to steal lead flashing from the roof. The steelwork was erected to enable workmen to repair guttering on the library building.

A spokesman for Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust said: "During the weekend a 10 metre length of lead flashing was stolen from the roof of the Library.

"Police have been informed about the theft and are investigating.

"The subsequent heavy rainfall has caused some damage inside to a small number of books and the carpet. "work is now due to take place to repair the flashing with a non lead based material.

"We would encourage anyone with any information to contact police."

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 0161 856 5307 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.