GYM owners had £10,000 of equipment destroyed in an arson attack on a Halliwell mill.

Insurance assessors at CrossFit Primal Training at Brownlow Business Park in Tennyson Street, have told owners James Colter and Robert Chapman that their furniture, exercise equipment and flooring cannot be salvaged.

Although the blaze caused the greatest damage to the neighbouring Afford-a-Part business, it also caused the closure of CrossFit on its opening day.

Up to 30 firefighters took four hours to tackle the blaze and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said it believes the fire was started deliberately.

The disruption caused by the blaze has come as a major blow to 29-year-old joint owner of CrossFit, Mr Colter.

Mr Colter has been building up to opening the gym for several years at the same time as battling multiple sclerosis (MS) — a disease he was diagnosed with at the age of 21, while on the verge of a career as professional break dancer.

The former Harper Green School pupil was inspired to launch the gym after conducting his own physiotherapy to battle the symptoms of the disease.

He said: “To have to close the gym on the opening day was devastating.

“When I was diagnosed with MS, I felt like everything was taken from me, but I then became a pilates teacher and was able to do my own physio.

“I researched MS, and found out there are many different ways you can challenge your nervous system.

“Everyone I meet is shocked when I say I have MS because you wouldn’t see it to look at me.

“The things you don’t see are the emotional scars. For example, I have problems with concentration and controlling my emotions.”

Mr Colter and Mr Chapman, aged 33, are now planning to reopen their gym when equipment is replaced and damage to the premises has been repaired.

People with information about the crime are asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.