TWO mills look set to be demolished after years of theft left them unsafe.

Bosses at regeneration firm St Modwen have submitted a notice to Burnley Council to raze Finsley Gate and Healey Royd mills off Finsley Gate.

It follows the “professional and systematic” removal of materials from the mills, previously the home to shoe and home-ware firm Lambert Howarth, despite CCTV and 24-hour security at the sites.

The firm says the buildings are now in serious danger of collapse.

St Modwen had planned to restore the mills and turn them into a mixed-use development, including flats, retail units and office space.

But in recent years, the company says roof tiles, stone paving slabs, bricks, copper and lead have been looted from the mills, leaving them in poor condition.

It says it has worked with Burnley Council to find a solution but the firm has now decided that the mills pose a risk to workers and the public.

Michelle Taylor, St Modwen’s regional director, said: “We are dismayed at the damage that has been wreaked upon these mills.

“We installed CCTV and had 24-hour security coverage, but nothing has prevented the looters, who have been relentless in their determination to strip away anything of any value.

“The professional salvage has left the structures badly weakened and, unfortunately, we are left with no alternative but to demolish the buildings.

“Our original regeneration plans, for which we gained planning permission, envisaged both mills being incorporated into a new development including new homes, workshops, a factory shop and cafe. This is now not possible.”

The firm insists it is committed to the “transformation and regen-eration” of the Finsley Gate area of Burnley and bosses hope to draw up new plans for the future.

The site of the mills is only a stone’s throw from the town’s historic Weavers’ Triangle development.