TEN thousand pounds worth of damage has been caused to a Nelson shopping centre after vandals went on a ‘mindless wrecking spree’.

Ceilings and fixtures in the Victory Centre were smashed, along with 150 fluorescent lighting tubes, when the building was broken into.


The caretaker of the Scotland Road centre has branded the vandals ‘sheer dysfunctional morons’ and says that the damage is estimated to cost around £10,000.

Police believe the thieves broke in through a fire door of an empty unit which used to house Argos.

The centre, which has seven units, is home to a Polish butchers, William Hill betting shop, a clothes store, a Mary Portas project shop as well as several empty units.

Around 150 fluorescent lighting tubes stored in one of the empty units were smashed along with storage units.

Colin Cowgill, caretaker of the centre said: “I was utterly shocked to see the damage they had caused. They have gone on a mindless wrecking spree.

“They have smashed whatever they could find, they are sheer dysfunctional morons.

“In one of the units we had 150 fluorescent tubes which we store for use throughout the centre. They have smashed them all along with all the storage units fixtures and fittings and ceiling tiles.

“They also tried to get into the Mary Portas shop but failed. If they had it could have been devastating as the shop is doing well and a lot of time and effort has gone into making the project a success.

“A couple of windows have also been broken when the thieves found their way into the bowels of the building where there is a labyrinth of tunnels.”

The vandals, who struck between 2.30pm on May 31st and 8am on June 1, have been slammed by Nelson councillor Mohammed Iqbal.

He said:”This is a deplorable and despicable act of vandalism by yobs with no regard to other people’s property.

“I would urge anyone who knows who these vandals are to report them immediately.

“I will be asking police to review CCTV footage from the town centre and, if anyone is found, I would hope the judicial system will make them pay for what they have done.”

Colin, who has worked at the centre for the past eight years, said: “It looks as though they have broken in through a fire door which goes into the empty Argos store which I thought was impenetrable.

“It seems like their only purpose was to cause as much damage as they could.

“In the past eight years there have not been any problems at the centre but for the past month there have been problems with gangs congregating near the 38 flats above the centre, causing problems for the residents who live there.”

Police are investigating the incident and appeal for anyone with information to contact them on 101 with the log reference 0219.