A MYSTERY bidder has paid out £110,000 to buy Bacup Police Station.

Conservationists have now called for the disused site to be preserved after it was snapped up at an auction in Manchester.

Lancashire police moved staff out of the Bank Street station after dry rot was discovered in October 2010 and plans to sell it off were revealed last November.

The station, next to the town’s old market hall, is known by millions of TV fans as the backdrop for the police crime drama Juliet Bravo.

Pioneering female police inspector Jean D’Arblay was ‘based’ at the station, in the fictional town of Hartley, in the early 80s.

Cathy Fishwick, secretary of Rossendale Civic Trust, believes the presence of heritage with the town needs to be respected.

She said: “It’s always a risk for people who buy historic buildings to do so without any planning permission in place.

“Ideally it would be nice for the town to still have a police station but that ship has already sailed.

“We would welcome it if the people who have bought it did their best to maintain its traditional look. It might not be up to standard on the inside but the outside is very attractive.”

Rossendale Council planning manager Neil Birtles said there had been a number of enquiries before the auction by developers wanting to turn the station into housing.

He said: “Any planning permission sought would of course be subject to Bacup’s status as a Urban Conservation Area.

“I would expect an application in the near future.”

Auctioneers Pugh & Company would not name the successful bidder.

The station was one of six which were sold on behalf of Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester police forces.

Stations in Ambleside, Kirkby Stephen, Cockermouth and Cleator Moor, in Cumbria, and Ince in Wigan also went under the hammer as police forces look to make savings.