More than 100 residents have already signed up to a crimefighting operation in rural areas of Chorley.

And neighbourhood officers to the east of the town are hoping more can be recruited for the ‘eyes and ears’ scheme in Wheelton, Rivington, Brindle, Brinscall and Hoghton.

An inaugural meeting took place on Monday at Brindle Village Hall and there will be other opportunities for villagers and farmers to sign up to the cause.

Michelle Appleton, police community support officer for Chorley Rural East, who has devised the initiative, said: “This is a new scheme and we already have a healthy group of local farmers and villagers signed up from rural Chorley.

“With police and the community working together we can help keep our local countryside and villages safe places to work and live for both our generation and future ones to come.”

The idea of the Rural Watch scheme is for villagers, farmers and other businesses to share ‘intelligence’ about suspicious activities quickly and efficiently.

Text messages are sent out to alert those in the scheme of any suspicious behaviour or recent crimes, so that they can take the necessary precautions to keep land, homes , animals and property safe.