A BUSINESS has thrown a group of volunteers a lifeline by donating decking to replace wood stolen from a nature reserve.

Friends of Eatock Lodge feared they would have to raise fund to replace wood stolen from a “dipping platform” at the beauty spot in Daisy Hill.

But staff at Anthony Axford Ltd, in King Street, Farnworth, read in The Bolton news about the volunteers’ devastation following the thefts — and offered to replace the decking at no cost.

Bolton Council also offered to carry out the work but, after liaising with Anthony Axford, agreed to cover the costs of a contractor to fit the decking and improve security at Eatock Lodge.

An Anthony Axford spokesman said: “We sell decking so thought it was a good cause and offered to donate some.”

A council spokesman confirmed it was paying a contractor to install the donated decking. The work was carried out on Friday.

Police arrested a man on suspicion of theft in connection with the incident, which happened between Tuesday, March 25, and Wednesday, March 26.

He has been bailed while police investigate.

Brenda Shott, from the Friends of Eatock Lodge, said: “I think it’s wonderful what Anthony Axford Ltd has done.

“If the decking had not been replaced, we would have had to keep the area closed off.

“We would have had to approach businesses. I am so pleased it has been replaced.

“The police are doing a wonderful job too by finding the decking and arresting someone.”

Cllr Kevan Jones, who represents Westhoughton South, added: “I welcome Anthony Axford Ltd’s involvement.

“ It is fantastic for a local firm to get involved, to help out at such short notice.

“I hope people will now go back to Eatock Lodge and enjoy it. There’s lots of wildlife down there, so it is worth a visit.”

l People with information about the theft can call police on 0161 8565608 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.