A MAN has expressed his shock and frustration after saying he witnessed a group of youths smoking cannabis and inhaling gas from balloons at a Bolton beauty spot car park.

Alan Armstrong went on a trip out with his wife to Horrocks Wood and was planning to leave his vehicle at the car park off Scout Road in Smithills last Wednesday afternoon.

But Alan said when they arrived at around 4.45pm they noticed there were a group of around 20 young people near around nine cars smoking cannabis and inhaling gas from balloons, thought to be nitrous oxide, known as "hippy crack".

Alan, from Darcy Lever, 54, said: "It was shocking. It was a sunny day and the car park was full of kids doing drugs – it was ridiculous.

"There were small compressed gas canisters all over the car park, they had been thrown on the floor.

"When we saw what was going on I drove off.

"Families with children and the elderly like going there and these idiots are spoiling it for them.

"It is a crying shame that this beautiful place has become a no-go area for decent people just wanting to enjoy the views.

"It seems like a meeting place for this kind of activity."

It is not the first time reports of anti-social behaviour has been reported at the car park and three years ago it was halved in size to tackle the problem.

Regular litter picks have took place over the years to clear up the mess left behind by drug-takers.

Nitrous oxide usage has also been reported in other beauty spots across the borough in recent weeks.

People were spotted inhaling the drug at popular spots such as Lower Rivington Reservoir and Moss Bank Park, just metres away from families and children.

And lifelong Boltonian Alan believes cannabis and inhaling nitrous oxide has become "a bit of an epidemic" with some people in the town.