A GROUP of Christian worshippers narrowly escaped serious harm after a car smashed into a community centre just minutes after they had finished using it.

The Hyndburn Christian Fellowship had just ended their service at the Hippings Vale Community Centre, in Harvey Street, Oswaldtwistle when a Citroen C4 crashed through a wall.

Nobody was hurt in the incident, which happened against the backdrop of the town’s first carnival for 16 years at around 12.40pm on Sunday.

The car left a gaping hole in the side of the centre, also commonly known as the Harvey Street Community Centre. Broken glass, broken plastic frames, and internal fixings such as radiators and air conditioning units were left strewn across a large hall inside following the incident.

Workmen were later seen boarding up the 12 feet by six feet hole.

Centre manager Robin Wilkinson said: “An older gent was doing a three-point turn when he suddenly shot through the wall, which is made from PVC cladding. It went 20 feet across the floor of the building. If the group had been inside I would be amazed if somebody was not seriously injured or killed.

“They would have been sat right in the path of the debris.”

The centre has been deemed unsafe until a structural assessment is carried out.

All bookings have been cancelled and the water, gas and electric have been cut off. Residents took to Facebook to ask what had happened.

Coun Bill Pinder, a member of the centre’s management committee, said: “It could have been much worse. I have been to see the damage and it’s going to take some repairing.

“I don’t know if it’ll be ready next week or next month but we’re pretty well insured.”

A police spokeswoman said it took almost two hours to remove the Citroen C4 from the building. Nobody was arrested.

A spokeswoman for Hyndburn Council said a police investigation was under way and declined to comment further.