MORE than 100 cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) were identified by Bolton NHS staff during one year, figures show.

Some 155­— the eighth highest in the country ­— women and girls had a procedure to treat FGM or were recognised as having undergone itt when they were treated by the local health service.

FGM, the intentional altering or injuring of the female genitals for non-medical reasons, has been illegal in the UK for more than three decades.

The law was strengthened in 2003 to prevent girls travelling from the UK and undergoing FGM abroad.

The majority of women and girls identified as having undergone the procedure had FGM type one, which is removing part or all of the clitoris.

In 35 cases there was evidence of Type 2 FGM, where part or all of the clitoris and the inner labia had been removed.

Five of the cases had been carried out on girls aged 1-4 years-old.

None of the women or girls identified were recorded as being born in the UK.

Nationally, 6,590 women and girls were identified as having experienced FGM and more than 200 cases of FGM were performed on women and girls born in the UK.

Figures from the Department for Education show the number of children identified by councils through a social work assessment as either having, or being at risk of, female genital mutilation has risen in Bolton ­— with the town recording the fifth highest number of such cases in the country.

Cllr Anita Lower, the Local Government Association's FGM lead spokeswoman and chairwoman of the National FGM Centre's advisory board, said its work "has never been more essential".

But the Government's longstanding financial support ended earlier in this financial year.