FAMILIES feared for their safety as gangs of white and Asian youths fought a running battle outside their Bolton homes.

Up to 60 youths carrying iron bars, clubs and even a sword were believed to have been involved in the brawl in Hawthorne Road, Deane, on Saturday night.

Residents said paving slabs were thrown during 45 minutes of fighting, which started at 9pm.

A 15-year-old boy was arrested for a possessing an offensive weapon and has been bailed until a later date. Police say more arrests could follow.

No-one is believed to have suffered serious injuries in the fight, which ended when police arrived, but a number of people were taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital for treatment and later released.

One woman, who asked not to be named, gave first aid to a white man who had been injured.

She said: "I rang the police and told them to get an ambulance here.

"The man was badly beaten, and was bleeding. I tried to help but was forced go back inside because paving stones were being thrown in the street.

"It was really frightening. Nothing like this has ever happened here before.

"People were too scared to leave their homes. One woman was trying to get a message to her children, who were out, not to come back to the street."

Police received a number of calls from residents just after 9pm, when the fight broke out.

The gangs dispersed as soon the police arrived, dumping weapons in residents' back yards.

Officers say they are still looking into the trouble and are refusing to speculate on its cause.

But they have dismissed rumours that tensions were inflamed because a woman living in the street had been assaulted.

There were no reports of an assault.

Detective Sergeant Ray Sherlock, of Bolton CID, said: "We are still talking to witnesses and trying to find out what caused the altercation.

"We did recover a number of club-type weapons, but no knives. The weapons have been sent to forensics for examination.

"At this stage, I would be speculating about how many people were involved. Two people were injured during the incident."

Mr Sherlock said he was keen to speak to anyone who saw the fight.

"We thank the people for ringing us and letting us know about the incident and we would urge others to come forward and not be frightened," he said.

"What happened has been condemned by both the Asian and white people living there. The Asians have criticised the Asian people and the white people have criticised the white people involved."

A resident said: "The fear is now that tension between both communities could escalate.

"There have been a few problems with racism in Deane and Daubhill, but never here. There is now racist graffiti daubed on fencing at the top of the road."

Anyone with information is urged to call Bolton CID on 0161 856 5740 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.