RESIDENTS have become so fed up with crime they spend every night patrolling the streets of their estate into the early hours.

People living in Beaumont Chase have also suggested contributing £1,000 each to build a gate at the front of the estate and become a gated community.

Representatives from Knightswatch, the estate’s homewatch group, met with MP Yasmin Qureshi, Bolton Council leader, Linda Thomas and other council representatives to discuss issues with crime in the area.

People are concerned about burglaries, car thefts, lead thefts and drug abuse in the area.

The problem has become so bad, a rota has been set up for people to take turns patrolling the streets every night to have a presence and help people feel safe.

Chris Houghton set up Knightswatch with fellow resident Karen Grainger. 

He said: “There is a rota between residents. They go out in groups of three and four just making sure there is no one hanging about the cul-de-sac.

“They go out with torches and sometimes they take dogs. 

“They wear high visibility jackets and it just gives us a presence.

“If you see someone out at 3am and ask if they are okay they generally go the other way. 

“It just makes sure people are safe. Most burglaries are between 2am and 4am, that sort of time but we set out at about 10pm every night.”

There are 140 people in the Knightswatch group and while not all of them are on the rota, people volunteer to help when they can. 

Responding to the latest concerns over crime in the borough, Chief Inspector Clark Bowers reassured people operations have been carried out and they have had an effect.

He said: “There is a lot of work ongoing. There have been burglaries in that area. It is not that different to other areas, though. We have had a lot of really good arrests in the past few weeks. 

“I think that has had a really positive effect, not just on the level of crime, but also the reassurance of the community. 

“There have been issues with crime that have concerned us and the community, particularly burglary.”

He added that he believes crime has not been at the levels suggested on social media and said police are working on the way they communicate with people and use social media to spread good news and reassure residents.

Residents have also considered putting a gatehouse to the entrance to the estate. 

Mr Houghton said: “If you look at the design of the estate, it lends itself for having a gatehouse in the middle of the entrance. If nothing gets done that is one idea we will consider.”

Several stories were told at the meeting, including seven lead thieves in one night, men caught with cannabis, drug dealings and other thefts and burglaries.

Mrs Grainger, said: “My children have witnessed the lead thieves and something needs to be done.

“I’ve lived here for over 20 years and I plan to live here until they carry me out in a box — it’s very special to me because I’ve watched Beaumont Chase be built brick by brick and I’m very passionate about keeping the people on our estate safe.

“We’ve met some great people — there has been exceptional teamwork.”

One of the factors given for the problems was how close the estate is to a major motorway junction.

Addressing the meeting, Ms Qureshi said: “From the outside, people look in this area and think that everyone is very well off — and if people are going to go and burgle then this is the type of place they’re going to do it — and other more affluent parts of the community. And for that reason you are a vulnerable target. 

“Your fears and concerns are justified.”

The MP said that she had been in regular discussions with the police about concerns across Bolton and she has organised a meeting with the chief superintendent in the next few weeks. 

Cllr Thomas said: “As awful as this is, it’s given you a fantastic community spirit and now you’ll all know each other forever — I’ve been burgled and I can empathise.

“Burglary is very prevalent in Bolton at the moment in particular car theft — I have had meetings with Bev Hughes, the deputy mayor about the concerns and I will raise them with her again.

“Burglary is a major issue at the moment and I will be passing on that I believe police need to concentrate their efforts on this.

“I feel terribly sorry for the residents having to go through all of this — we can all empathise with them. I commend the community spirit. I think its tremendous how they’ve all come together — they just want each other to be safe.”

It is hoped neighbourhood watch signs, new lighting, upgraded paths and CCTV can be installed in the estate.