A CAFÉ owner has urged members of the public to be vigilant after a fire and vandalism at Burrs Country Park.

The East Lancashire Railway station shelter at the park, known as Burrs Halt, was damaged by fire on Saturday.

Several pot plants were also vandalised at The Lamppost Café shortly after, at about 5.30pm.

The fire has been reported to Greater Manchester Police by East Lancashire Railway (ELR) stationmaster Steve Holt.

Nicola Gregson, who co-owns the café with husband Mark Wellman-Riggs, said: "Youths trashed many of the plants on the terrace at the rear of the café.

"We heard a commotion and banging outside the window and I saw four youths throwing plants at the shutters and making a real mess. They only stopped as we disrupted them and chased them off.

"Immediately before they decided to rampage outside our shop, they set fire to the shelter on the East Lancashire Railway. They set fire to a bag of rubbish on the bench.

"They were also seen pulling stones from the structure of the bridge and throwing them into the river.

"A newly planted tree has also been uprooted.

"We are urging people to be vigilant and to report any incidents and any insight into who it might be to the police."

Members of the ELR train crew are believed to have put out the fire after spotting it while passing.

Just last month, Burrs Country Park won a Much Loved Award at the UK's Best Park competition. Out of 364 parks nominated for the competition Burrs finished in the top 20 per cent nationwide and in the top 10 in the North West.

The Lamppost Café has also been shortlisted in the Made in Bury Business Awards for the 'Best in Class - Food and Drink' category.

"I think it is upsetting for everyone who loves the park that this has happened", Mrs Gregson said. "It is not necessarily the expense to us, it is the blatant disregard and damage of property. Someone is purposely vandalising things because they have nothing better to do."

A police officer is understood to have visited the site yesterday (October 6). Police carry out regular patrols in the park.

The Bury Times has contacted the ELR and Greater Manchester Police.

Anyone with information should call police on 101.