POLICE have increased their patrols of a popular footpath in Radcliffe following concerns raised by residents.

There have been a number of assaults and attacks along Banana Path in recent months.

A police vehicle has been stationed at the Spring Lane entrance on a frequent basis, and officers have said there will be a "regular" presence in the area to improve visibility and reassurance.

A knife was found in the bushes along the walkway last month. Detectives are understood to have attended the site and taken the knife as evidence.

Calls have been made for Bury Council to install CCTV and new lighting to improve the safety of residents, many of whom use the path as an access route to and from the Metrolink.

The council carried out work along banana path to remove and cut back trees along the stretch, particularly near the Spring Lane entrance.

They said they are looking at ways to further improve safety, which will include improvements to street lighting. Plans are also being implemented for members of the council's security service to carry out additional patrols along banana path, and enquiries are being made about the installation of CCTV.

Sergeant Simon Ward from Greater Manchester Police’s Radcliffe neighbourhood policing team, said: "I understand residents' recent frustrations about safety on Banana Walk in Radcliffe and I would like to assure the local community that we have listened to those concerns and are working hard to tackle the issues raised.

“We have increased patrols in the area to provide visibility and reassurance. A mobile police station will be in position regularly to ensure residents feel safe using the footpath and provide them with preventative measures to reduce the risk of becoming victim of crime, these include: be aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking with your headphones on or talking on your mobile phone, keep your valuables safe and out of sight and stick to well-lit aware.

“We are also working alongside partnership agencies, such as the council, to set up further measures in the area to deter offenders, as well as engaging with residents and supporting community groups.

“I would ask for the continued support of the community in reporting incidents via the LiveChat facility on the GMP website or by calling 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.”

In October 2019, a teenage boy was attacked by group of men, and in December 2019, two men were assaulted.

A teenager was also punched and held at knifepoint in October 2018, and there was a spate of attacks on the footpath in 2014.

Councillors have urged Bury Council to improve lighting and to install CCTV.

Cllr James Mason said: "Even our community police officer Sam Moss has asked for a camera to be installed. We need something doing and quickly before someone gets seriously hurt."

‎Cllr Rhyse Cathcart has previously requested that the council consider a further lighting scheme on the path along with CCTV to protect the community that use it.

Resident Paul Bradshaw‎, aged 47 of East Street, said he was aware of a number of crimes happening along the path.

He said: "I saw three police officers walking up Banana Walk two weeks ago. Thankfully they recovered the knife that had been tossed in the bushes."

He added: "I use this path a lot with the school run and access to the canal but always have the dog with me.

"A possible way to tackle this is to educate the youth of today.

"The police are so understaffed that they are powerless to respond to every crime reported."

Resident Matt James posted on Facebook: "Radcliffe residents have been asking for CCTV cameras up Banana Walk for years. Loads of attacks have happened there over the last 20 years, sexual and violent."

Another posted: "Stick cameras on there. They have got to take their hoods down or masks off at some point along the road or side streets."

And yet another wrote: "I remember walking there when I went to school, many years ago now. I felt that it could be a safety issue. They definitely need cameras."