VANDALS are causing a headache for contractors at Accrington's town centre building site.
Children as young as nine have been spotted hanging about the £8m market development during the evenings and incidents of vandalism in the area have been a growing problem since building work began.
About £30,000-worth of damage has been caused at the site and the Market Hall has had to replace over 400 strip lights at the temporary markets in Broadway.
In one incident a market stall was set alight, but a passing officer spotted the fire and it was extinguished by the Fire Brigade before it could spread any further.
Police have been working closely with town centre management in a bid to stop the problem and 15 arrests have been made during the course of the building work. Extra patrols are now in place around the area and the site security guard is in regular radio contact with the police.
Sergeant Mark Porter, town centre sergeant for Accrington Police, said that the new measures seemed to be having an impact on vandalism.
He added: "I have had a meeting with the site manager, market manager and town centre manager to discuss the damage and what we could do to reduce it. From our side we have been able to identify quite a number of juveniles who we believe are responsible for a lot of the damage and we will be actively targeting these people.
"Since we had the meeting we have made a number of arrests and things seem to have improved a lot. We have certainly reduced the problem. But there are still juveniles hanging around in the evening. Some are as young as nine years old and you have to ask if parents know where their kids are."
Sergeant Porter pointed out that the building site posed a number of risks and warned that the youngsters were facing serious injury. He said: "It's not just the problem of crime, a building site is very dangerous and with some of the things they are doing they are going to end up with a serious injury or worse."