VANDALS have targeted Rock Hall in Farnworth twice in under 24 hours causing damage to both the interior and the exterior of the property.

The Grade II listed building has now been made secure by the council.

On Monday vandals trashed the inside of the property and damaged features such as windows and historical decorations.

Later on Tuesday evening the council's boarding on the windows was destroyed and more vandalism occurred.

The attacks have occurred after the charity working to save the historic building were awarded £99,600 in funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund earlier this year.

The grant is set to fund the project to produce a conservation plan for the hall, review feasibility study design options and further develop architectural plans for Rock Hall.

Cllr Paul Sanders shared details of the incident on Facebook on Tuesday night.

He said: "Today has been one of the darkest days in Rock Hall's long history.

"Two appalling spates of vandalism have been acted out on our Grade II Listed Hall in under a 24-hour-period.

"Initially, overnight, internal areas of the hall were trashed and external elements damaged - windows, historic features and decorations impacted.

"Then, this evening, in broad daylight as the park was busy, a second attack occurred and the council's boarding-up from just hours earlier was destroyed and further damage carried-out to the hall.

"The Police, Council's Place Department and security and response, volunteers and councillors have all been involved today to try to salvage and comprehend this mindless and deeply troubling situation.

"Security of the hall is totally paramount now, it is clear that the Hall is in danger - all measures possible need to be taken to try to safeguard the hall from those who wish to do our heritage harm.

"If you are in Moses Gate Country Park, please take time to observe Rock Hall and report any concerning or suspect behaviour to 101 or 999 if deemed immediate risk to safety.

"The hall has been made secure again by the council this evening."

Rock Hall was built in 1807 by the Crompton family of paper-makers.

TB Crompton was a pioneer and developed a unique paper drying process, which he patented.

The hall closed in 2014 and has been unused since then.

Speaking to the Bolton News, Cllr Sanders added: "What is bizarre is that in the seven years the building has been out of use and derelict we’ve never seen this level of vandalism during that time.

"It’s heart-breaking especially as the project was allocated funding to help save the building - now this is a step back.

"I know the police are making this a priority now and security of the building is paramount.

"It’s just mindless behaviour."