'MINDLESS' vandals went on the rampage damaging cars by throwing large slabs of stone and bricks at vehicles in the dead of night.

Eighteen cars suffered thousands of pounds of damage after the attacks in Oswaldtwistle, Stanhill and Knuzden.

The gang struck on two nights, throwing the missiles from a moving vehicle, leaving many windows smashed and bodywork badly damaged.

Cars were damaged in Rhyddings Street and Milton Street in Oswaldtwistle, Mount St James in Knuzden and Stanhill Lane and Stanhill Road.

Among the vehicles attacked was a milk float while a milkman was making deliveries.

Many owners have had no option but to pay for repairs, for fear of seeing their insurance premiums soar.

Police said one was forced to miss out on a holiday to ensure sufficient money was available to meet the bill.

A spokesman for Hyndburn police's Oswaldtwistle and Knuzden neighbourhood team condemned the vandalism as 'absolutely mindless'.

He said the attacks took place between 2am and 4am on July 26 and between 1am and 3am on Friday.

The spokesman said: "A total of 18 vehicles have been damaged in the Oswaldtwistle, Stanhill and Knuzden area.

"Large stone slabs and bricks have been thrown at the vehicles, causing smashed windows and costly damage to the vehicles' bodywork."

The vandalism has been carried out by at least two men, with a third accomplice possible, and it is feared that the offenders could well strike again.

The police spokesman added: "We have received information that the offenders are male and are throwing the bricks from a moving vehicle described as a small silver/grey hatchback with a damaged brake light.

"Thousands of pounds worth of damage has been caused and many residents have had no choice but to pay to repair the damage themselves due to the significant rise in insurance premiums following a claim."

Police have checked CCTV for the culprits and are appealing for anyone who might have footage to get in touch.

Officers have no description of the offenders other than that they are all male.

The spokesman said: "We know there are at least two involved, with one driving and the other lobbing the slabs out.

"We have no evidence to say it's the same people on both occasions but of course we are linking the incidents.

"It's very frustrating for everyone who has suffered, because with all the vehicles we are talking about very high repair costs.

"It is just all absolutely mindless. This has caused a lot of upset and there can be no understanding."

Anyone with any information regarding these offences is urged to contact the Oswaldtwistle and Knuzden neighbourhood team on 01254 353103.