A STOLEN car was pursued through the town centre at high speed on Sunday - as hundreds of Scouts were preparing to march along the same route.

The annual St George's Day Parade by Bury and District Scout Association was about to set off from Cecil Street car park when the red Rover car raced at high speed along Bolton Street, Market Street and Haymarket Street with three police traffic units in hot pursuit.

One shocked member of the public said: "If this had happened a few minutes later, when the Scouts were marching up the street, then God knows what would have happened. The driver of the red car would not have stopped. Children could easily have been killed or injured."

As Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and their leaders formed up for the parade, traffic police began following the Rover car which had been reported stolen from Bradley Fold Road, Radcliffe, on Saturday night.

The car was driven at speed into Bury town centre, narrowly avoiding people using the zebra crossing.

After careering across Haymarket Street and Knowsley Street, it emerged on to Manchester Road and headed back to Radcliffe. The vehicle was eventually abandoned in Coronation Park off Ainsworth Road.

A 32-year-old man was arrested nearby on suspicion of dangerous driving and car theft.

He has been bailed until June 2 pending the completion of forensic investigations.