There is something rotten in the village of Diggle. On Saturday 23rd May, unknown individuals broke into WH Shaws Pallet Works and smashed their way through locked doors to reach the top of the clock tower where they mindlessly bent the cogs in the clock’s mechanism. Whilst in the building the vandals did no other damage and didn’t remove anything.
Diggle resident and former employee of Shaws, Maurice Brayford, who voluntarily maintains the clock, and has done for the past 15 years, said, “This could not have been done by children as the doors they broke through are really substantial. I can’t understand why adults would want to go to the trouble of breaking in and then only targeting the clock. Why mindlessly vandalise something that has run without problems for near on 118 years.”
Police officers attending the scene this morning said it was odd that, apart from the door where the offenders got in, the clock was the only thing they damaged.
Michele Brayford, Maurice’s daughter said, “It breaks my heart what has happened, it has knocked my dad for six and to be honest me too. I couldn’t rest Monday night after knowing they had been in. I was thinking the worst, what if my dad had been in the building and disturbed the vandals – it doesn’t bear thinking about.
“My dad loves the clock and loves the fact he has kept Diggle on time for the past 15 years. I just can’t get my head around why someone would damage the clock when its such a positive icon for Diggle. I do hope, one day soon, it will work again.”
Mark Brooks, chair of Diggle Community Association said, “It’s devastating news about the iconic 1890 built Grade 2 listed Clock Tower. Why somebody would choose to enter the building and vandalise the clock is beyond me. It really is a sad day for Diggle and another body blow for the community following the release of the pre planning information about the new 1500 pupil Saddleworth School.
“The owners of the site have a responsibility to protect the buildings and must take action to stop these mindless acts of willful vandalism.
“The Diggle Community is strong and in adversity will only grow stronger. I will be inviting ideas and looking at how the community can react positively to this sad news at our next open meeting on June 11th”.
The current owners of the site, WRT Developments, are not in the country at the moment but David Walker, Financial Director at Wiggett Construction said, “We are very saddened by the news and are exploring, with our insurance company, what can be done to get the clock working again.”
Estimates for repairing the clock are around £2000 but they can’t be undertaken until the future of the clock tower is known. The building has not been included in plans to build a new secondary school on the site and Oldham Council are not yet sure where grant funding can be obtained for its restoration.
If you have any information that can help police in their investigation, please contact:
PC Johnny Marsden or PC Mark Clough at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 0161 856 8825