An historic 17th century Chorley building has been vandalised by ‘mindless’ yobs.
The Grade II* listed Buckshaw Hall, which was built in 1654, has had windows smashed, walls punched in, and historically-important features destroyed, causing £10,000 worth of damage.
The hall was in private use until the 1930s, when it was taken on by the Ministry of Defence to form part of the ROF munitions factory. It was transferred back into private ownership some years ago, and talks are ongoing with what to do with the site.
But John Greenhalgh, who now owns the building, says he fears it may be lost completely if nothing is done.
The 52-year-old said: “There has always been an element of low-level vandalism, but now it has all just escalated.
“We are suffering from a constant threat of vandalism and people trying to break in.
“What we are concerned about at the moment it a total loss of the building.
“If they are prepared to go to the lengths they have gone to this time, then it’s possible.”
The timber-framed building is one of only two listed buildings in Buckshaw Village, the other one being Old Worden Hall.
It has been described as ‘one of the finest of its type in Lancashire’.
Mr Greenhalgh said: “There has been a considerable amount of money spent on the exterior of the building – in the region of £500,000.
“We have got shutters on all of the windows, but it keeps going on.
“I guess it’s the adventure of trying to get into an old building.
“It’s just mindless. This is a local landmark and it is being destroyed.
“And as it is grade II* listed, to alter or fix things you have to use the same materials as when it was built.
“And it costs a considerable amount to do that. These are old skills and they don’t come cheap.”
A spokesman for Lancashire police said: “We received reports, between 10am on July 13 and 2pm on July 16, offenders had gained entry to Buckshaw Hall.
“They have damaged one of the interior walls, which has been valued at £10,000. We would appeal for anyone with information to contact us on 101, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”