POTENTIAL new recruits at Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Team have been put through their paces for the first time.

The group took 16 trainees to Barley and Pendle Hill on introductory expeditions to assess communication skills and fitness levels.

The team, which is responsible for a 350 square mile area of East Lancashire and Greater Manchester, had one of its busiest ever years in 2012.

Team leader Pete Goble said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for potential team members to meet the team.

“Sixteen people took the time to come and see us and and look at our vehicles and chat to existing team members about commitment and what the future holds for them should they be successful.

“It was a great day out. We must thank the cafe at Barley car park for putting up with the rush of people wanting a hot brew.”

The rescue team hopes many of those who attended will start a formal 18-month training course at the beginning of March.