A MAN is recovering in hospital after deliberately setting himself on fire in the town centre.

Firefighters rushed to Newport Street at 7.38pm following reports that a man had ignited his clothes using a cigarette lighter.

The man, believed to be in his 40s, was found with second degree burns to his stomach and left leg.

Onlookers noticed that the victim appeared very drunk and was clutching a whisky bottle.

He was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital where he remains in a stable condition.

Earlier, a woman from a nearby business premises had spotted the burning man in front of Textiles Direct, off Victoria Square.

She ran to help him and managed to put out the flames by rolling him along the ground..

The victim was given oxygen and dressings for his injuries by fire crews.

The man's identity is unknown, but his friends referred to him as Cyril.

A spokesman from Bolton Central fire station said: "We don't know exactly why the man set fire to himself.

"He certainly wouldn't loosen his grip on the whisky bottle when we were treating him."

Police attended the scene and interviewed the victim's friends who had remained with him.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "This matter is not being investigated as there doesn't appear to be anything suspicious."

It was the second time in the day that the man had threatened to set himself alight.

Earlier, he had told a special police officer and his friends of his intentions and subsequently set fire to his jumper.