THERE are fears about vigilante groups being formed in Horwich following recent concerns about crime.

Community members spoke to councillors during a meeting at the Public Hall on Thursday and raised the issue of incidents around the town.

These have recently included several cases of car windows being smashed, including one on the 575 bus to Manchester in Chorley New Road last Tuesday.

Resident Mick Stevens said: "I have been approached by a group of residents to speak to the council about the youths.

"It is happening every night. We know who they are, where they are and what time they will be there.

"But people are asking why is nothing being done by the police. It is getting dangerous.

"Police have been informed every night and they are not even turning up. There are vigilante groups setting up.

"There are businesses losing money. We need the council to run a full public meeting quickly.

"Vigilante groups will start and it is going to be chaos."

Members of the town council echoed his concerns and said they would try and get a police officer to attend a future Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting.

Cllr Kevin McKeon said: "We are very well aware and it is a very serious situation. It has been going on for a number of months.

"We have spoken to the police and the police know who they are and they have taken two of them to court. However that does not seem to have had the effect we hoped for.

"We are going to have a community safety officer coming to the next meeting and we will give them the seriousness of the situation.

"The broader issues is that the police do not have the resources. We were told that their numbers had been reduced.

"The police themselves have been protesting to the Government that more money needs to be spend and police numbers need to be increased.

"We do need to do something locally. This is very serious."

Cllr Steve Rock, town mayor, said: "When we have the meeting with the officer, I think we should try and impress on them how serious this is.

"Everybody here is concerned."

There have been similar concerns about crime in other areas of Bolton in recent months, including in Westhoughton and Blackrod.

Cllr Chris Root said: "There is no doubt that we are all very concerned. I have had my tyres slashed and window broken.

" But Horwich vigilantes are obviously more likely to get arrested than some of these young people who are involved because they are so young.

"We are all aware of the problems but there is only so much we can do as a town council."

A video claiming to show a masked vigilante destroying a drug dealer’s car in Blackrod was widely reported in the national press.

But it was later revealed to be a sham and Greater Manchester Police described it as 'fake news'.