RAMSBOTTOM residents ventured out with their own radar guns for the first time on Saturday morning to "zap" speeding motorists.

The "speed watch" campaign is the first of its kind in Greater Manchester to be officially launched.

Around ten volunteers from Nuttall Lane and Whittingham Drive were provided with high visibility jackets and put their training into action by using handheld speed guns to monitor passing cars, supervised by Ramsbottom police inspector Bryn Williams. They will now be go out on the streets whenever they have spare time, with ongoing support from Ramsbottom's police community support officers.

Any resident who clocks a driver exceeding the 30mph speed limit will pass on the details to police. The drivers caught speeding will then be sent a warning letter from police and, if there are any persistent offenders, further action could be taken. During Saturday's operation, two drivers were clocked travelling at 43 and 42mph.

Resident Ian Ashworth, who was present, said: "It went very well. It certainly seemed to have the desired effect in that most of the motorists realised that we were there and the traffic was calmer than usual.

"The majority of people that we saw seemed encouraging and even gave us a little wave.

"That's not to say that there was no speeding. Travelling at 42 mph is quite a high speed in a residential area like this."

The team plans to use the speed guns again this Saturday and hopes to conduct checks on weekdays as well.

The speed camera campaign is a joint project between BurySafe and Ramsbottom, Tottington and North Manor Area Board, following numerous complaints from residents about the continual problem of speeding drivers along Nuttall Lane and the surrounding area.

Insp Williams said: "It is a pilot scheme which will be evaluated after four months to effectively allow the volunteers to gather their evidence to assess the levels of speeding in the area. They will forward their evidence to the police who will assess and take up any necessary follow-up action.

"In the first instance that follow-up action will be a letter to the keeper of the vehicle and, if there is evidence of a persistent offender, they will be a target of more policing.

"What is important about the scheme is that it is a preventative measure and the volunteers are showing they care for other members of the community. They want people to simply slow down - it is not a case of prosecuting people. They are there to send a message to slow down in this area because it is dangerous and somebody could kill a child. Comments about wannabe cops' and vigilantes' are far from the case. These people care about the community."

Ramsbottom councillor Diana Ashworth added: "I am 100 per cent behind them and fully supportive. You only have to stand on Nuttall Lane for half an hour to see how these cars are flying up and down.

"It does seem to me like an accident waiting to happen.

"Even if no action is taken against speeding drivers, it raises awareness that people should monitor their speed in and around Nuttall Lane and, if it does that, then the job will be done."