AN INVESIGATION has been launched into a foul smell that spread across Westhoughton and beyond.

The disgusting stench — believed to have come from sewerage sludge spread on farmland — first appeared last Thursday and was in the air all weekend.

Environmental officials are now investigating the spreading of slurry on a field off the A6 in Wingates, close to the ATS motor repair centre, as the cause of the odour.

REVEALED: What is causing the disgusting smell making people feel sick

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “We are aware that spreading of slurry on the fields around Bolton usually takes place in August.

“We are investigating why on this particular occasion the odour has caused such a level of complaint.”

The Environment Agency confirmed that it was aware of issues regarding the use of sludge at the site.

There were reports of a similar smell blighting residents across Greater Manchester over the weekend — as far away as Bury, Rochdale, and Stockport.

United Utilities said it was not aware of any mechanical issues or anything abnormal on its network that could have caused the smell.

The Bolton News:

Map showing areas where people have got in touch with The Bolton News to complain about the smell 

Anna Wong, of Redwood, Westhoughton, said: “My family find the stench so unbearable that we have been unable to open any doors or windows for more than a few seconds to simply enter or exit our home.

“My husband and I have experienced mild stomach ache, slight blurring of our eyesight and minor headaches since the foul smell first polluted the air last Thursday.

“My husband is currently recovering at home after a biopsy procedure under general anaesthetic performed last Friday.

“It would have been pleasant for him to relax in our garden plus gardening is my favourite hobby but neither of us have been able to do either because the smell.

“I am very concerned about the potential risks to human and animal health from sewage sludge used for agricultural purposes.”

What's that smell? 'Obnoxious' odour is making town's residents feel 'physically ill'

Town councillor David Wilkinson reported the problem to Bolton Council over the weekend and was relieved that the odour vanished today.

He said: “The smell seems to have disappeared now, which is good because we had had enough of it. It was awful.

“What I can’t understand is how it reached so far. I think it is possible that whoever has spread it here may have other sites as well.”