PATIENTS and staff were locked inside a doctors’ surgery for nearly an hour after men threatened to “trash” the building.

Staff at Waters Meeting Health Centre in Waters Meeting Road, Astley Bridge, decided to lock the doors to protect staff and patients at about 2.30pm on Monday.

Police were called when two men started being aggressive and threatening to “trash” the building, but no arrests were made.

A 50-year-old woman, who was picking up a prescription at the time of the incident, said: “Earlier on, before I had got there, people had been shouting and saying they would do something to the building.

“There were about six people in the building and the staff. We didn’t see the doctors.

“I heard someone say there was blood outside and on the door handle but I don’t know what happened.

“We were inside the building for about 45 minutes before police turned up.

“The men were just staring in the building, looking through the glass.

“People kept turning up at the health centre but couldn’t get in. One of the two men said he had something under his arm but I’m not sure what.

“When I was leaving, when police arrived, one of the men was kicking off.”

A police spokesman said: “A 29-year-old man was given a fixed penalty notice for public order offences.”

Staff at the surgery declined to comment.

Across the UK, there were 59,744 reported assaults against NHS staff in 2011/12, an increase of 3.3 per cent since 2010/11, when there were 57,830.

Richard Hampton, from NHS Protect, which collates data about attacks on health workers, said: "There is never any room for complacency when it comes to violence in the NHS.

“NHS Protect will continue to work closely with its partners to identify why assaults happen, provide practical tools to address threats and promote the prosecution of offenders wherever appropriate.”