A BLACKBURN convenience store has launched a petition in a bid to keep a ‘lifeline’ cash machine which was installed without permission.

Bosses at the Premier Late Shopper in Shear Brow, Blackburn, collected 1,400 signatures in just 12 days.

It has submitted a retrospective planning application for the 24-hour cash machine, which was installed in August by Bank Machine Ltd, based in Hatfield.

Manager Essa Bawa, who has run the convenience store with his family for 13 years, said: “Some people in the neighbourhood, especially the elderly, see it as a lifeline.

“They can get their money out and come into the shop to pay their council tax and bills.

"It is safe as there is a takeaway open to 11pm so people are always around. We are putting the petition into the town hall as there is a lot of support for the machine. We’re putting another one together which has 900 signatures.

“The company puts in 30 to 40 machines a week. They told us they have never have any problems with planning. It seems to be just one person in the area who is against it. All the students at St Mary's College are in favour of it.

“It is a community asset, we get 8,000 to 9,000 people using it per month.”

The petition was handed to planning chiefs and will be decided in the next few weeks.