Police were given extra powers tonight after a rise in anti-social behaviour in Bolton town centre.

A dispersal order was put into place from 3pm today which means police were able to order people out of the area.

Police patrols were stepped up as a result.

The Bolton News: Map showing the dispersal zone

A spokesman for GMP Bolton North said: "This afternoon Inspector Maddocks of Bolton South Neighbourhood Policing Team has authorised a dispersal order in the outlined area of Bolton Town Centre.

"The Dispersal Order powers come under the anti-social behaviour, crime and policing act 2014 and will run to 23:00 hours on Friday 15th December 2023.

"The Dispersal Order grants officers extended powers to direct a person to leave an area within the area of the map and has been introduced following an increase in anti-social behaviour in the area.

"Extra officers on patrol will be deployed around the area both on foot and in patrol vehicles. If you see any of our officers, please engage with them, they will be happy to provide reassurance and listen to any of your concerns."

The order came into play just days after Bolton police announced a special town centre operation in the run up to Christmas.

Police have been working closely with partners including the council, stores and charities to prevent and tackle crime.

Patrols have been increased in hotspot locations known to be an issue with officers paying regular visits throughout the town centre.

This includes checking in on planned events for the centre, local retail parks, the interchange, and shopping centres.

Only last month the issue of anti-social behaviour is an epidemic on Bolton's Bradshawgate and across the town centre according to one councillor.

The authorities are to ask businesses to contribute towards the cost of the issue via a late night levy on those with a late night licence.

Initially the authority was looking to impose the tax on those with a licence to sell any alcohol between the hours of 3am and 6am across the area as a whole.

Now the authority is looking to impose the tax on those with a licence to sell any refreshment, including takeaways, at these times but in the town centre only.

Greater Manchester Police can be contacted via our Live Chat Facility, or on 101.

In the case of an emergency please always dial 999.