A BUTCHER leaving a market hall after 62 years has accused its council bosses of running it ‘like a jumble sale’.

George Cropper, 76, said Hyndburn Borough Council had let the Accrington town centre operation ‘go to pot’.

Now he and his daughter Clare are to take the family business to a new ‘farm shop’ on Blackburn Road.

Hyndburn council’s deputy leader Cllr Paul Cox wished the Croppers well in their new venture and said he was fully committed to the future of the Market Hall, a listed building dating from 1869.

In recent months several stalls have quit the market.

Mr Cropper, from Rising Bridge, joined Suttons family butchers aged 14 and, after 15 years, took it over with his brother David.

He now runs the business as G and C Cropper Family Butchers with his daughter Clare. They also have livestock farms in Hapton and Long Preston.

Mr Copper said: “I regret leaving but it’s going to pot.

“Hyndburn Council are running the market like a jumble sale.

“To be honest I’m fed up to the teeth. There is nobody in it and it's half full.

“I am looking forward to the new shop and glad we’re staying nearby in Accrington so we can continue to serve our loyal customers.

“I’m not retiring. I like getting up in the morning and looking forward to going to work.

“I don’t want to sit around the house all day. I haven’t enjoyed working for the last few months so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Miss Cropper said: “I’ll be sad leaving the market in some ways but I’m glad we’re opening the new shop where we can do more things like our own farm-raised home cooked meats, ready meals, cheese and sandwiches.”

Cllr Cox, responsible for the market, said: "I’d like to thank the family for their support over the years and wish them well for the future. I am due to meet with a number of the stall holders later this month and I will be listening to any concerns they may highlight.

“The council is fully committed to securing the future of Accrington town centre, which includes the redevelopment of the town’s historic buildings and investing in the Market Hall if necessary.

“The reality is that shopping habits have fundamentally changed, as more people use online services or visit the large supermarkets. People can still support local family businesses by shopping at some of the great stalls or eating at one of the cafés in the market.”