FOUR people have been arrested after anti-fracking protestors in protective clothing glued their hands to petrol pumps at a Total petrol station in Great Lever.

Three men and a woman, who also used bike D-locks to lock themselves to the pumps, remain in police custody after the incident that took place at about 1pm today and forced the petrol station to cease operating.

Those arrested are from a campaign group against test drilling at Barton Moss in Salford.

A peaceful protest organised by the newly formed Bolton against Fracking group and attended by members of the Bolton Green Party was already taking place at the petrol station and was not linked to the campaigners who attached themselves to the pumps.

The unknown activists have been criticised by Bolton Green party chairman Alan Johnson for "undermining" efforts to educate people about the dangers of fracking, the controversial process of extracting shale gas from the earth.

He said: "I was very annoyed and I have to stress that these people have nothing to do with our protest.

"We were there to protest peacefully and warn people about the dangers of fracking and these people have put themselves and others in danger with what they did."

Campaign group Frack Free Greater Manchester had called for people to protest outside Total petrol stations after it was announced that the French firm would be investing at least £12.7 million in the UK's shale gas industry.

Group member Sophie Baxter said: "Every company that is going to invest in fracking needs to expect these kind of actions.

"We were very proud of the guys who did this today and were cheering when he heard about it."

But Reezwan Patel, manager of the Rishton Lane petrol station said the petrol station is in fact no longer owned by Total.

He said: "It is owned by Certas Energy but the signs haven’t changed yet, so they got that wrong.

“We had to close for six hours, so with the loss of custom and the damage that has been done to the pumps, it could be a couple of thousand pounds we have lost, I am dreading getting the quote."

“The peaceful protestors were very polite and actually apologised for what happened — but the others were very stupid and have cost us a lot of money.”

Specialist police officers were required to remove the Barton Moss protestors from the pumps.

A GMP spokesman said: "Two men have been arrested for criminal damage and a man and a woman have been arrested for criminal damage and criminal trespass, they all remain in police custody for questioning."