Police are stepping up patrols around Chorley after rumours of an illegal rave taking place on Saturday evening.

Officers from Lancashire Police have said they will stop people in the Rivington and Belmont area, near Bolton, to check if they are travelling to an event and will turn them away if necessary.

Superintendent Damian Kitchen said: "We are aware that an illegal rave event may take place in the Rivington and Belmont area this evening.

"We have a dedicated policing operation in place, which will see an increase in police presence in the area and our intention is to ensure that no event goes ahead.

"We will have extra patrols monitoring routes across the county and at key locations. If we see people on foot or in a car travelling to an event, we have powers available - which we are ready to use - to turn them away, no matter how far they have come."

Illegal raves across the region last weekend saw one person die, several stabbed and a woman reportedly raped, and emergency services have warned people who may be attending raves this weekend that they may not be able to assist them.

Police added that there is an increased risk to the health and safety of anyone attending and those involved in the organisation of the events risk prosecution.

Currently, the law around gatherings allows a socially-distanced group of people to meet outdoors, but raves last weekend saw around 6,000 people attend.

Supt Kitchen added: "Whilst we have always taken a proportionate approach to how we police these regulations throughout the pandemic, we will not allow people to organise significant illegal gatherings purely for gain.

"We understand that it has been a difficult time for everyone recently, particularly young people who will not have been able to socialise with their peers in the environments they are used to, but the coronavirus regulations are still in place and they are there to protect people and save lives."

He warned that the virus is definitely not gone away and many areas of the North West continue to see high infection rates - highlighted by the announcement yesterday that the 'R' rate of infection could be at 1 in the region.

Police have urged the public to contact them on 101 if they have information about significant gatherings taking place this weekend.