A VOLUNTEER group which patrols the streets helping young people who have had too much to drink has helped to cut crime in Bolton town centre.

Street Angels has become a firm fixture on Saturday nights in the town centre since first hitting the pubs and clubs 12 months ago.

The group has gone from a small number of volunteers to a welltrained and effective unit.

And police say the group has contributed to a reduction in violent crime.

Insp Phil Spurgeon said: “In the last two years in Bolton town centre, we have reduced serious violent crime by 43 per cent and Street Angels has clearly played a part in that over the last year.

“They are an asset to the nighttime economy and give that nonjudgemental support to people in need. They have come a long way in their first year from very limited training to begin with.”

Street Angels, which has helped dozens of revellers, will hold a celebration at Bank Street Chapel on Sunday to mark its successful first year.

Those helped have included drunken young women separated from friends, who have been able to recover over a coffee with the Street Angels and aided in getting home safely.

Volunteer Adrienne Tonge said: “In 12 months we have progressed from being a group of well-intentioned and, in some cases, nervous individuals to being a confident and effective team that is well received by those working in the night-time economy—police and doorstaff who use our services and help us, and those out enjoying the nightlife whether they need us or not.”

In June, Street Angels opened its Safe Space cafe in Bradshawgate, which is open on Saturdays from 10pm to 3am and acts as a safe place for people to wait for taxis and have a non-alcoholic drink.

Insp Spurgeon said: “The base in Bradshawgate is really useful for us because we can take people there or signpost them to there. If someone needs to chill-out or make a phone call, that’s a good space to do that.”