Military helicopters have been spotted around Bolton over the last few days.

The helicopters were spotted flying low and landing close to the Royal Bolton Hospital and at Mount St Joseph school, causing some concern.

However, it has since been revealed that this was due to a routine military exercise conducted in the north by RAF Benson.

Several Puma helicopters from RAF Benson, in Oxfordshire, have been taking part in exercises based in RAF Woodvale near Formby, regularly landing in other areas including Bolton.

This has been running from October 12 and is due to finish on October 17.

Many residents took to Facebook to question what was going on.

One said: "It's driving me insane it's so loud, sound like they about to land on my house."

Another commented: "Created a bit of excitement in our house, thought they were gonna land on the drive."

It was clarified by RAF Benson that this had nothing to do with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic response.

A spokesman from RAF Benson said: "Several Puma helicopters from RAF Benson will be operating at RAF Woodvale from 12-17 October 2020 to conduct essential training for crews during Exercise NORTHERN TEMPEST 20.

"The Exercise is part of the pre-deployment training that the Puma Force undertake prior to deployment to Operation TORAL in Afghanistan.

"Up to three helicopters will be used to train three Puma crews from 33 Squadron operating in rural and urban areas. They will be using a variety of authorised helicopter landing sites in the Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds areas, as well as conducting additional training at Altcar, Spadeadam and Snowdonia.

"This deployment is not linked to the UK Government’s response to coronavirus and is solely for pre-deployment training.

"The exercise will ensure that the aircrew are qualified to conduct a variety of tasks that are needed in support of the ongoing NATO mission in Afghanistan.

"The aircraft, support team and crews will be based at RAF Woodvale for the duration of the exercise.

"They will be flying during the week from 1pm until 1am, which will, on occasion, be outside of RAF Woodvale’s normal operating hours.

"RAF Woodvale was chosen for the exercise as it provides an excellent forward operating base for the Puma Force.

"It also provides additional support to the training being undertaking by introducing the crews to operating in unfamiliar surroundings and a different environment."