POLICE patrols could be stepped up in response to the latest spate of burglaries across Greenmount.

Officers have also issued advice and recommendations to residents to protect themselves against theft.

The warnings come after 66 break-ins were reported in the Ramsbottom, North Manor and Tottington areas since the end of August.

Of those, 15 have taken place in the past month, when 'demand on police resources is at its greatest'.

Bury North MP James Frith has echoed the concerns of residents and pledged to meet with police to discuss what action can be taken.

He said: "I share the concerns of residents in Ramsbottom and Greenmount about the spate of burglaries over the holiday period.

"I have spoken to police officers to ask what is being done to make sure the perpetrators are brought to justice, that residents feel safe and receive regular communications to keep them up to date and I will be meeting with GMP Bury's divisional command at the earliest opportunity to discuss the lessons which can be learned from this."

Of the 66 break-ins since the end of August, 15 of those were to sheds and garages.

But several unoccupied houses have been targeted via the rear of the property, prompting police to issue a warning to residents.

Sergeant Simon Ward of Bury North said: "The vast majority of these burglaries have occurred in North Manor, particularly around the Greenmount area.

"We are following up burglaries with house-to-house and CCTV checks as well as utilising crime scene investigators, who attend when there are potential forensic opportunities.

"Unfortunately this latest spate of burglaries has taken place during the busy Christmas and New Year period when demand on police resources is at its greatest.

"Whenever possible crime hotspots are patrolled regularly. However when demand is high we have to prioritise the protection of life over property.

"We will of course be looking at increasing patrolling in the affected areas."

Officers urged residents to reduce their risk of becoming victims by ensuring that their homes appear occupied.

Using exterior lighting, asking a trusted neighbour to close curtains, and using light timers were recommended.

Tall gates and trellis fencing, which cannot easily be climbed over, were also suggested.

Homeowners with patio doors were also urged to consider fitting laminated glass so it does not shatter in the case of an attack.

Sergeant Ward added: "We would also encourage residents who are interested in protecting their neighbourhood to join the neighbourhood watch schemes.

"If a scheme is not available in their area, we would like them to contact Greater Manchester Police to discuss setting one up."