A DOCTOR'S surgery has shut down after medical staff came under attack from teenage yobs.
Staff at the centre in Lowergate Road, Huncoat, said Dr Alex Kapenda was forced to abandon the base amid safety fears.
Now the 70 or so patients who visit the surgery each week have no choice but to make the two-mile trek to the doctor's main premises in Abbey Street, Accrington.
Dr Kapenda told his staff they could not return to the surgery until the police had taken steps to deal with unruly youths in the area.
His concern follows an incident in which a yob allegedly threatened a member of staff.
On another occasion, surgery workers said they had found evidence that someone had sprayed graffiti on the building and tried to set fire to the door.
Dr Kapenda refused to comment directly to the Observer, but Maralyn Parkins, of the Abbey Street surgery, said: "It's such a shame what has happened.
"Quite a lot of the people who come in every week are pensioners and mothers with small children, who are now having to walk all the way into town just to see a doctor.
"It also means we have doubled our workload here and that puts everyone under more pressure."
She added: "Huncoat Surgery opened about six or seven years ago and we had no problems until the last 12 months.
"Then there were children congregating on the driveway outside in the daytime. We have had a couple of run-ins with them.
"On one occasion, one of the youths threatened one of our practice staff.
"We arrived at the surgery one morning and it was obvious someone had tried to burn the door. It was at that point the doctor decided it wasn't safe. Something has to be done."
Hyndburn Police have been made aware of the problems.
PC Dave Pearson said: "We have received a complaint about felt tip graffiti and a small burn on the front door, probably caused by a cigarette lighter.
"We will find the culprits and deal with them by either fixed penalty or arrest.
"We are also aware of some children shouting abuse at surgery staff. This is unacceptable.
"The decision to close the surgery is the doctor's prerogative. Now that I am aware of the specific problem, I will resolve it."
Huncoat ward councillor Dave Parkins said: "I think it is the doctor's decision but considering what has happened I can see why he has closed the surgery.
"It is a big blow for Huncoat because Dr Kapenda and I fought very hard to get it opened in the first place, precisely because it is too far for pensioners to go to other surgeries.''