Search for thug in benefits rampage

Exterior of Blackpool Council Services on Corporation Street,
Exterior of Blackpool Council Services on Corporation Street,
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POLICE are hunting a violent thug who went on the rampage in Blackpool Council offices as terrified customers looked on.

Staff at the Customer First centre on Corporation Street made a frantic call to police after a man became violent in the housing benefit section of the office at 4.40pm on Friday.

The thug, who is believed to be in his 30s, shouted abuse at staff before ripping two computer screens from the sockets and throwing a metal framed chair.

Police arrived at the scene but the man had already fled in the direction of Talbot Square. An eyewitness who did not want to be named said: “The customers were terrified, everybody was totally shocked.

“We became aware of a commotion and the man started shouting abuse at the staff because they weren’t able to give him his benefits and he owed money.

“He was ranting and raving and suddenly he ran to the front counter and started ripping the computer monitors off and flung them on the floor.

“Then he picked up one of the metal framed chairs and started smashing it against the office equipment.

“People were trying to restrain him because staff were terrified, but he was just kicking out, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Customers and staff were comforted by police following the violent incident in the town centre offices.

The eyewitness added: “His behaviour was particularly disgusting because there were two children in the offices and they were petrified, they started crying their eyes out.

“There was another woman who was distraught too, she was totally shocked by what she’s seen and the police had to bring her water to calm her down.

“He must have caused thousands of pounds of damage, the monitors were destroyed and I think some glass was damaged too.

“I felt so sorry for the staff, they shouldn’t have to put up with people acting like this.”

A spokesman for Blackpool Police said: “We attended after receiving reports a male was being violent towards staff.

“We were told he had been destroying furniture and punching out towards staff.

“Nobody was injured although staff were badly shaken.

“We are told he fled in the direction Talbot Square so patrols are looking for him.”