The ambulance service in Greater Manchester called in mountain rescuers when it was overwhelmed by the number of calls in its area.

Members of Bolton Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) responded to 999 calls using its fleet of four Land Rovers, which are legally classed as ambulances.

The Oldham team and colleagues from Rossendale and Pendle MRT were also involved in the first crisis on Tuesday, 5 December, when a record number of emergency calls were received by the North West Ambulance Service’s Belle Vue control centre.

Bolton’s full team was called out by pager and all four of the rescue Land Rovers were used, involving 18 members of the voluntary team.

They were finally stood down at 10:20pm after being on duty since just before noon.

The Bolton volunteers were again mobilised the following Friday, when the ambulance service found itself without enough emergency crews to cover peak demand. Throughout the day, the MRT had one of its Land Rovers working and eventually managed to crew three of its emergency vehicles, working into the early hours of Saturday 9 December.

The Bolton team attended a total of 36 incidents on the two days, ranging from road accidents to assault victims and children with fever, along with the traditional vomiting drunk.

An ambulance service spokesman said: “Bolton Mountain Rescue work closely with the North West Ambulance Service and have done so for many years.”