UNITED Utilities has pulled the plug on a triathlon event – because it does not want people swimming in Rivington Reservoir.

The company says Bolton Triathlon competitors will send out the wrong message and encourage youngsters to risk their lives in its waterways.

But despite the safety fears, United Utilities is allowing another triathlon to take place at the reservoir.

The company has been accused of double standards by the event’s organisers who fear the tough sporting challenge – which attracted hundreds of competitors last year – could now fold.

Bolton Triathlon has taken place at Rivington each September for the past four years, providing vital funds for Bolton Triathlon Club.

But United Utilities says it is only willing to allow one event at Rivington and has chosen the Ironman UK International Triathlon, which is coming to Bolton for the first time, in August.

Mark Jackson, secretary of Bolton Triathlon Club, said: “We are very unhappy. This is a well organised, safe event.

"We are not talking about kids splashing about."