Vandals have caused at least £10,000 worth of damage to the Victory Centre in Nelson.
Police are investigating the vandalism and believe a team of about four or five were involved.
The shopping centre between Scotland Road and Leeds Road was built by Barnfield Construction in 1993, including a lot of flats above the shops. It is now run by Blackcrown Properties Ltd.
The firm’s key holders at the centre – Tom Halpin and Stuart Cowgill – have expressed their concerns about it and explained what had happened.
The empty store which was most badly damaged was the ex-Shafi premises at the Leeds Road end, but a whole series of other empty shops were attacked, too. It also included the inside delivery area by Leeds Road where lorries drop deliveries off. In the Shafi property the vandals caused a huge amount of damage, including the big ceiling after breaking in through a door.
Mr Cowgill said: “I was absolutely devastated when I found the damage. It was horrendous all round the Victory Centre. I’m so sorry that it happened and I called the police straight away and they inspected very quickly.”
I hope the police can catch the people who have done this damageStuart Cowgill
And Mr Haplin said: “Shopkeepers are having a problem keeping a decent living when things like this happen. I, too, was really saddened by it. I hope the police can catch the people who have done this damage.”
Mr Cowgill then revealed: “Above us there are 38 flats and the residents here expressed concern.
“They would have been in great danger if the vandals had set fire to it.”
It is believed the wreckers got in to the centre by smashing through an outside door off the side of Scotland Road.