VANDALS have targeted roofs at Dorchester market with tiles smashed across the ground causing a ‘health and safety nightmare’ - as one business owner fears he could be hit next.

The roofs of the cattle sheds located at Fairfield Car Park, where the town’s iconic market is held, were the subject of criminal damage.

It is thought a large group of youths who have been seen hanging around the area at night drinking may be responsible.

Dorset Echo: Damaged roofs at Dorchester market, picture: Anonymous resident

A local resident and business owner, who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear he will be targeted, found tiles spread across the ground alongside empty alcohol containers on at least three occasions in recent weeks - which he believes could cost 'thousands of pounds to replace' and could lead to someone injuring themselves.

The local business owner said: “It’s becoming a health and safety nightmare and someone will be hurt.

“It is aggravating when I see something like this because there’s got to be thousands of pounds worth of damage because of the age (of the sheds).

“There is roofing all over the ground, I can only imagine they are punching it or breaking it somehow which is shattering it and creating health and safety issues.”

The business owner says he fears that vandals will start targeting other businesses in the area if something is not done to stop them.

He added: “I fear when they have done as much as they can around there they will come for other places and businesses.

“When I was a kid we did naughty things but not things like that.

“I’ve seen up to 20-30 youths around there and often drinking.”

Dorset Police confirmed they were aware of the issues and were working with the council in a bid to make the area safe.

A spokesman for the force said: “On Wednesday, January 5 officers on foot patrol discovered criminal damage to the roof of the cattle sheds at Fairfield car park in Dorchester.

“Officers liaised with the local authority to make them aware of the damage and ensure the area was made safe.

Dorset Echo: Damaged roofs at Dorchester market, picture: Anonymous resident

“Whilst on patrol in the vicinity, they were alerted to further damage at the location on Tuesday, January 11 and a further report of damage was received on Thursday, January 13.

“Officers have also contacted the local authority with a view to locking the car park overnight, which has helped address previous issues at the location.”

Police said ‘officers are continuing to carry out enquiries’ and are completing ‘regular patrols’ in the area.