TWO people have been spotted trying to steal slate from a listed building in Tonge.

The criminals were seen at the old chapel in Tonge Cemetery by passers by.

When approached by members of the public, the individuals told them they were working on behalf of Bolton Council.

Cllr Adele Warren has urged people to be vigilant in the area, as the council has not sent anyone to work on the 164-year-old chapel.

She said: "Two men were spotted on the roof up to mischief, there's no reason for anyone to be up there.

"It's a beautiful little chapel in the middle of the cemetery and we really don't want to be dealing with people stealing things from such an important asset for our town at this time.

"It's very historic, it's very important to the cemetery and we don't want people to be thinking that it's OK to take things from there, especially from the roof which could cause damage to the building.

“It just infuriates me, this is a Victorian site with a really strong link to our town's past – it's such an important connection to our heritage and people need to be respectful to it."

Tonge cemetery is a Grade II listed site opened as a High Victorian burial site.

Thomas Allen, 70, from Little Bolton was the first person to be buried at the site on December 31, 1856, although parts of the cemetery were not yet finished at this time.

The chapel, a Church of England mortuary building, was designed by Bolton architect Charles Holt, for a competition to find the best design in June 1856.

It is the only chapel still standing on the site, after two others, a Roman Catholic chapel and a Nonconformist chapel, have been lost over the years.

Mr Holt also designed the Roman Catholic chapel, and both buildings were constructed for £1,222 by Robert Burrows.

The single-storey stone chapel was designed in a simple Gothic Revival style, and features a blue fish-scale slate room.

If you notice anything suspicious, or spot people on the roof, please report the activity to the council’s security team by calling 01204 336900.