SCAVENGERS have sparked safety fears after trying to steal railings protecting passers-by from a Wigan dam.
John Belshaw, a member of Friends of Douglas Valley, was horrified to discover nuts and bolts had been removed from the bars, which act as a barrier along the footbridge across the dam in Coppull Lane.
Anyone then leaning on the fence could find it giving way and them plunging into the water below.
Also stolen were the bolts from metal grilling used as a debris screen.
It is thought the attempts were being made to steal the railings themselves to then sell for scrap.
Mr Belshaw said: “Someone has removed 14 nuts and bolts from the railings and it is making the barriers unsafe.
“The bolts would have been screwed on tight, so someone has purposefully got equipment to take them away, so I can’t see it being youths.
“They may be stealing them for scrap metal, but I can’t see them making much money. This is about people’s safety, as I am now worried the railings could subside.
“They have also removed bolts from metal grills which slows the force of the water, so engineers need to weld it shut.”
A spokesman from the Environment Agency – the organisation which built the bridge – said; “We are aware of reports of vandalism to our debris screens at Wigan Dam.
“We can confirm that a number of bolts and a grill have been removed from the debris screens and we are in the process of replacing these.
“We would urge members of the public to take notice of warning signs near to the debris screens.
“The public can report environmental incidents using our 24-hour hotline on 0800 80 70 60.”
As the footbridge was Wigan Council’s responsibility, a spokesman confirmed engineers were looking into the matter.