AN MP has warned ‘vigilante groups’ are setting up in his constituency to tackle anti-social behaviour because of cuts in police numbers.

Hyndburn’s Graham Jones said due to government cuts neighbourhood policing in Lancashire had collapsed forcing people to set up groups to fill the gap.

He feared this was putting people in danger.

Mr Jones' constituency saw two organisations created in December Hyndburn Crimewatch and Crime, Camera, Action Hyndburn The Labour MP told a Westminster debate on anti-social behaviour: “The cuts have really affected my areas of Hyndburn and Haslingden.

“Lancashire police has lost 800 staff. Neighbourhood policing units have basically collapsed.

“In the past few weeks, a vigilante group has moved in. This is where we end up. Anti-social behaviour is exceedingly aggravating to so many people. The Accrington vigilante group has its own ​uniform and various other semi-official regalia, and it is out patrolling the streets at night. Is this what we have come to?

“We cannot deal with anti-social behaviour and we cannot protect the public, so people have to protect themselves and they have to pay for the privilege of having a non-existent service through their taxes.

“I am deeply concerned these people are putting themselves in danger.”

Mr Jones highlighted Accrington’s Peel and Spring Hill wards as historic hotspots and recalled as a councillor confronting 20 ‘yobs’ on Bold Street one night.

He said: “There has been a massive increase of drugs in Hyndburn and Haslingden. The streets are awash with cocaine.”

John Cartwright, of Crime, Camera, Action Hyndburn said: “I think we are the group he referred as we have uniforms. We are not a vigilante group. We work with the police.

“We do not interact with criminals or leave our cars. We report incidents to the police and film them as evidence.”

Inspector Steve Rides said: “We would always welcome extra eyes and ears on the ground but private groups have no policing powers so would need to work with local officers. Hyndburn has a dedicated neighbourhood policing team.

Home Office minister Victoria Atkins said: “We were all perturbed to hear about the experience in Hyndburn.”

She said the government was injecting £970m into police forces.