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CONES VANDALS ENDANGER LIVES

Mindless vandalism in Bolton is causing problems for road users.

The incidents are occurring at road works in the town centre, where the road is being widened, the new carriageway resurfaced and traffic lights are being installed at a junction and at the entrance to a retail park. The work is part of a 2.7 million bus lane development that requires lane closures at various times. It has been underway since March, with completion expected by the end of November. Problems arose when groups of youths decided it would be a good idea to move traffic cones from the road works and place them in the road. Unsuspecting motorists were then forced to take evasive action to avoid running into them.

The council's executive member for environmental services, Councillor John Byrne, condemned the actions: "This sort of behaviour is completely irresponsible. The vandals are putting people's lives at risk and I will be speaking to council officers to try and tighten up the security in this area."

Bolton Council has already taken action in an attempt to avoid a serious accident. CCTV cameras have been focused on to the area in the hope that the culprits will be caught in the act. The council also has a Streetcare hotline (01204 336600) to which any problems on roads and footways can be reported. This includes providing information that can help to apprehend the vandals. A council spokesman appealed for an end to the irresponsible behaviour: "We would ask people not to move the cones as it could create a hazard to road users and pedestrians. CCTV cameras in the area could be used to pursue prosecutions if accidents are caused by acts of vandalism. We have teams of officers who regularly monitor road works around Bolton and are on call out 24 hours a day."

Ali Rasul, a private hire taxi driver, has first hand experience of the danger that results: "There was almost a pile-up there. Some idiots had decided it would be funny to start messing around with the cones and put two of them in the middle of the road. It was after midnight so it was dark and the car in front of me had to brake abruptly and swerve to avoid them. I wasn't going more than 30 mph but I almost ended up going into the back of it.

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