BAR managers have called for more police in a town following a spate of burglaries and break-ins.

Fred Hallett, manager of The Vault in Darwen, said the town had become open season for thieves after several businesses were targeted in the last 12 months.

This comes after the bar, on the corner of Borough Road and Green Street, had its tills emptied, spirits taken and slot machine damaged by a thief on Monday.

Mr Hallett said other establishments such as The Taps Bar, Artisan Cafe and Wine Bar and Eddie’s Woodfired Pizza have all been targeted in the town within the past year.

He said: “We are sick and tired of these people thinking they can get away with it. There’s been a real spate of burglaries.

“It's become an open season for burglars.

“There’s more bars and a bigger nightlife scene now in Darwen and there should be more police officers to cover it.

“We don’t have a police station here, they all come from Blackburn, so people are chancing it because they know there’s not enough officers.

“Darwen has built itself up and this sort of behaviour is going to put off any further development.”

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph in July, Dean Cooper, who owns The Bridge Café in Darwen, called for the introduction of a shop watch scheme in Darwen so businesses can warn each other about the presence of criminals.

In November last year, around £4,500 worth of damage was caused by vandals when they broke into The Taps Bar.

The suspects used a hammer to break through the bar’s rear door and crawled through the hole they made in the back door.

The thieves stole around £350 from the till.

The bar owners said the thieves damaged a jukebox, a games machine as well as CCTV, doors and the till.

Sarah Wright, manager of the bar, said: “I agree there should be more police in the town.

“I can’t get my head around why there’s been an increase in break-ins, all the bars are protected with CCTV and locks. We were hit badly last year and we don’t want it to happen again.”

Insp Martyn Holt said said: “We are aware of the crime patterns in Darwen and we have responded, which has resulted in individuals being arrested and charged. Enquiries are ongoing and further arrests are planned.

“We are committed to keeping Darwen safe and have a team of officers who work closely with the community and businesses to prevent crime.”

“If anyone has any concerns I would encourage you to contact your local policing team or attend your local Police and Community Together (PACT) meetings.”