FURNITURE, bottles and cans, and dozens of needles were among the "abysmal" 420 bags of rubbish collected along the banks of the River Croal.

Volunteer litter pickers collected the rubbish over two weekends at the start of the month.

Peter Brabin from the Bolton Green Umbrella Initiative said: "There were pieces of carpet, furniture, binbags, bottles, cans, needles ­— lots of needles ­— there’s just everything there. It’s a nightmare.”

He added that discussions about putting more fences up around the litter hotspots had taken place and that he had approached Bolton Council.

He said: “We can’t let it carry on. It is absolutely abysmal. When you go out and see it, you just think, what’s happened to Bolton?”

Halliwell ward councillors have taken part in the litter-picking efforts, including Labour leader Linda Thomas.

She said that she was “hoping to find money” to help tackle the problem, through preventing people dumping their rubbish by the river.

She added: “It’s been a massive exercise. They’re a massive group of volunteers and I can’t thank them enough for it.

“We keep going down there to thank them. They don’t even live there, they just believe in seeing Bolton clean and tidy.

Regarding new fencing, Cllr Thomas said: “We need to find money to make the fences higher or add mesh at the top.

“Now it’s still probably not high enough there as a deterrent. I just wish people would stop throwing it in the first place.”

In November, The Bolton News reported that Mr Brabin had complained to the council about the fly-tipping on the banks of River Croal.

He had been clearing the banks with volunteers for weeks ­— but more and more rubbish kept being dumped at the site.

There was confusion over who had responsibility for the clean-up ­— as the banks near Queen’s Park were a “blackspot”.

The land was believed not to be under the control of the council and the responsibility for the area fell to local residents.

A council spokesman said at the time that they were working to assist in the matter.

For more information on Bolton Green Umbrella, visit