Anger after centre hit by callous vandals

Paul Sumner (committee) and Peter Wallace (trustee) , left) survey the damage at Bispham Community Centre.
Paul Sumner (committee) and Peter Wallace (trustee) , left) survey the damage at Bispham Community Centre.
Have your say

A COMMUNITY centre fighting back after a fraud probe has been dealt a “sickening” blow by vandals.

Bispham Community Centre has been attacked by thugs smashing windows twice in the past week causing £2,000 damage.

The centre was left in dire straits after around £60,000 allegedly went missing from accounts in April last year, but volunteers had rallied around to save it.

Now they are counting the cost after the attacks.

Paul Sumner, who volunteers at the centre, told The Gazette: “I can’t weigh it up, it’s madness to me. Luckily we’re insured but it looks a mess.”

Paul says despite the attacks those involved with the centre are determined to turn its fortunes around for a second time in less than 12 months.

He said: “It’s doing well and it’s been turned around before. We’ve got to go from strength to strength.

“We’re putting a few more activities on and our car boot sales are doing well.”

Coun Don Clapham and Coun Henry Mitchell, who represent Bispham on Blackpool Council, donated £200 from their ward budgets in order to help the centre redecorate its premises following last year’s allegations.

And Coun Clapham today spoke of his shock at the vandalism.

He said: “From my point of view I think it’s an absolutely sickening act to carry out.

“I just can’t understand what vandals get out of it.

“It’s really a shame for the people who use the centre.

“These selfish people go round vandalising things and I hope they get caught and then well and truly punished.”

Coun Clapham now intends to liaise with the centre’s management over the issue.

He added: “I’ll speak to the chairman about it.

“Bispham is quite low in terms of crime so it’s something thankfully which doesn’t happen too often here.”

Lancashire Police confirmed it is investigating.

The first incident took place at around midnight on Sunday while the second happened before 8am on Monday.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said fraud investigations into the centre are “ongoing”.

Follow us on twitter @The_Gazette and like our page on facebook to keep up with all the latest news.

Click here to register with The Gazette website to enable you to leave your comments and reaction to stories.