Vandals have been blamed for a bomb scare which brought an Army disposal squad racing to Preston.
Police raised the alarm when four sticks of what appeared to be dynamite were discovered in a boarded up pub in London Road.
An adjacent car valet business had to be evacuated and the area around the Shawes Arms cordoned off on Monday afternoon. The sticks were later identified as “modified explosives, possibly fireworks.”
But last night the owner of the empty property said he believed the incident was just the latest in a long line of attacks on the property caused by gangs of youngsters.
“It’s crazy what’s been happening down there - it’s just mindless vandalism,” said businessman Nadeem Sadiq, who bought the building in December 2015 with the intention of finding a tenant to re-open it as a pub.
“It’s just one thing after another. They just keep breaking in and causing damage. It’s costing me a fortune just having to get the joiner out to keep boarding it up again.
“I don’t know exactly what the police found in there. But they said it looked like they were some kind of fireworks.”
The Shawes Arms, which could be almost 200 years old, shut down in 2014 and has since remained empty.
Mr Sadiq added: “I bought it in 2015 when it was already closed and I’ve been trying since then to get someone in to run it as a pub again, but no-one has seemed interested. So now I’m putting in plans to turn it into flats.
“It’s such a shame to see it boarded up and continually being vandalised.”
A police spokesman said: “We believe these four items were modified explosives, possibly fireworks. They were disposed of by the Army.”