ANTI fracking campaigners were in town to warn against the use of the controversial underground drilling process in Bolton.

Demonstrators gathered in Oxford Street, near the Fred Dibnah statue, to use loudspeakers and artwork to convey their message.

The event on Saturday, organised by Bolton Against Fracking and Bolton Socialist Club, was followed by an evening of poetry and music in the evening at the club in Wood Street.

A petition against fracking received nearly 500 signatures, and campaigners were happy to have collected so many names.

Graham Marsden, a member of Bolton Against Fracking, claimed that Bolton has been identified as a potential area for fracking, due to its history associated with mining.

He said: "Bolton has been identified as a potential site for investigative drilling because of its geology as a mining area, particularly areas of Westhoughton and Daisy Hill.

"We know there is a need for energy, but there are clearly safer and more reliable ways of producing energy than fracking."

Other groups involved in the day of action included Bolton Friends of the Earth, The One Million Climate Jobs Campaign, The Kitchen on Great Moor Street, Djembe Drummers, Bolton Green Party, Bolton Diggers, Bolton TUC, Bolton Left Unity and Transition Town Bolton.

Elizabeth Shepherd, of Bolton Friends of the Earth, said: “The technology exists to put the brakes on climate change. We want to share this message of hope, and a call to action, with everyone.”

Chris Chilton, chairman of Bolton Socialist Club, added: "The urgent need to address climate change is met with the empty rhetoric politicians.

"Solutions are available to meet the challenges of producing sustainable energy, meeting the housing crisis and reducing unemployment.

"What's lacking is political will, nationally and internationally, to bring these solutions together."

Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, means recovering gas and oil from shale rock by drilling deep into the earth, using a high pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals.

Opponents say the practice can lead to earth tremors and the chemicals used could cause cancer, if they contaminate groundwater around the site.

Bolton Against Fracking meets every second Wednesday of the month, in The Kitchen cafe, Great Moor Street, at 7pm.