CRIMINAL gangs are believed to be responsible for illegally dumping hundreds of tyres at numerous locations across the town.

Over the last few weeks there have been reports from several areas including Mill Lane in Rainford, Borron Road in Newton and Ravenhead Road.

The gangs collect a ‘green fee’ from garages, usually between £1 and £2 a tyre, to recycle them.

But instead of disposing of them correctly they often pocket the cash and dump the old tyres.

Malcolm Clough the councils’ Enforcement and Street Cleansing manager explained: “Apart from the release of toxic and hazardous substances into the environment, dumped tyres pose a major fire risk.

“It will also leave the landowner with a significant bill when they have to collect and dispose of them correctly.

“We are investigating all the cases of locally dumped tyres and are working closely with the Environment Agency to find out where they came from.

“With the help of the public we would hope to identify and prosecute those responsible.”

Anyone with information can call the council’s contact centre in confidence on 01744 676789.