Ribble Valley Borough Council has issued a strong warning to vandals who wrecked the barrier to a disabled car park in Clitheroe.

The group wrenched the barrier off its hinges at the disabled parking area next to the river at Edisford, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

“We will be coming after you for every penny,” said Stuart Carefoot, chairman of Ribble Valley Borough Council’s community services committee.

He added: “We wanted to ensure safe use of the riverbank for blue badge motorists and installed a fob-operated automatic barrier.

“Edisford riverbank is extremely popular in good weather, attracting hundreds of visitors, and the new system ensured access to the site was safe for motorists with restricted mobility.

“Sadly, the system is being abused, with unauthorised vehicles tailgating blue badge motorists onto the site.

“In this latest incident, a number of vehicles were unable to leave the car park and the driver of one chose to wrench the barrier off its hinges.

“Not only has this mindless act caused thousands of pounds worth of damage, but the site is no longer secure, which will rob motorists with restricted mobility of safe parking.”

The council also condemned other drivers for tailgating disabled motorist through the barrier in order to “gatecrash” the car park.

Blue badge motorists have been able to visit the riverbank since last year after the council invested in secure access to the site operated by a touch-fob.

Previously, access had been via a gate unlocked with a RADAR key, meaning blue badge motorists had to get out of their cars to get access.

The incident is being investigated by Lancashire Police, which has asked anybody with information to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.