‘BORED, careless youths’ have been caught on camera posing a risk to Bolton’s historic elephants.

Pictures show the three youngsters on top of the stalls in Octagon Square with the two elephants, which have been on display in Bolton for more than 100 years.

The member of the public who sent in the pictures said she believed the youths were planning to draw on them but climbed down when they saw they were being photographed.

The eyewitness said: “I think they were planning on drawing on them but they saw me taking their picture and climbed down. They were running across the rooftops of the little stalls before settling on the elephants.”

She added that after they climbed down they made their way to the play area outside Lever Chambers and were ‘trying their best to break it’.

The eyewitness said she felt particularly sorry for the businesses.

She said: “There are always youths messing around on the rooftops, unnecessarily endangering themselves an damaging local businesses. It’s not fair to the business owners that their shops are damaged by bored careless youths.”

The cast iron elephants were on display at the former Bridson’s bleach works in Chorley Street, where they stood on the gate posts for more than 100 years until the works were demolished in 1977.

The elephants were then moved to the top of the Newport Street charity canopy which was demolished in 2014.

Three new colourful elephants were moved from Newport Street to Octagon Square in May, 2016 when the play park was built and the cast iron elephants were installed above the stalls.

The elephant has long been an historic symbol of Bolton and features on the town’s coat of arms.

The main theory of the borough’s association with the elephant is linked to a connection with the City of Coventry, which also incorporates the animal on its coat of arms.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “It sounds like an isolated incident — we’ve not had any reports of young people climbing on to these units.”