Chorley's £15m Market Walk shopping centre extension targeted in vandal attack

The Market Walk extension takes shape
The Market Walk extension takes shape

Vandals have struck at Chorley’s under-construction £15 million Market Walk shopping centre extension.

The attack took place at the Escape Entertainment venue in the showpiece development on the town centre Flat Iron.

A quantity of tools were stolen and thousands of pounds worth of damage caused, said the company.

The incident took place on Tuesday night.

Entertainment operator Escape Entertainment is progressing ahead with plans to open a six-lane bowling alley, 18-hole adventure golf course, virtual reality games, and a restaurant and bar over on the first floor.

It already operates the Cheeky Monkeys Family Entertainment centre on Factory Lane in Whittle-le-Woods.

After the incident Escape Entertainment put out a message on social media - and appealed for anyone with information to report those responsible to the police.

The company posted on Wednesday: “Our new venue was broken into last night.

“Thieves stole a number of things including power tools and vandalised inside amounting to over £3,000 worth of damage and several hours of lost work today.”

It was thought a poppy wreath from the nearby Chorley Pals memorial, found in a skip at the site, had also been dumped - but it turned out to be a false alarm.

A search of the skip to try and find the keys to the site cabin - which were also stolen in the raid - uncovered the wreath.

But a spokesperson for the Chorley Pals said they had dumped the wreath from the memorial themselves, as it had been there since July and was rotting away, which can stain the memorial. Chorley Council, which is having the Market Walk extension built, said although there had been an early incident when children were spotted on CCTV when the area was a building site, this was the first vandal attack on the new multi-million pound building.

The council said it was Escape Entertainment’s responsibility to keep their premises secure and that they understood the company had stepped up security.

A council spokersperson said the authority checked CCTV after learning of the incident, adding that it was the first time anything like this had happened and when reported to the council CCTV was used and an offender was subsequently arrested.

A Lancashire Police spokesperson said: “A 16-year-old male from Chorley has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and bailed until November 20.”

Chorley Council purchased Market Walk in 2013 with ambitious plans to develop the centre and bring more shops and retail space to Chorley town centre.

The extension, off Union Street, will include a new six-screen Reel Cinema, an M&S Foodhall, as well as retailers and food and beverage outlets.

The extension is due to be open in time for this year's Christmas shopping period.