Masked thugs armed with weapons terrorised a busy Leyland street twice in two days.
A string of takeaways were targeted as a group of more than 20 vandals threw bricks and smashed windows with metal poles on Friday and Saturday.
Onlookers have described the attacks as ‘frightening’, and police have now vowed to step up security in the area.
It started at around 10pm on Friday when a gang was causing havoc on Chapel Brow in the town centre.
One takeaway owner, who does not want to be named, said: “There were loads of them banging on our back windows and then loads of kids were going mental outside Romero’s takeaway.
“There were about 20 or 25 of them, and some were as young as 12 I think, but others were probably in their early 20s.
“They had bricks in their hands so I called the police, and it settled down.
“But then the police left and by the end of the night, they’d thrown a brick and smashed the front window of Romero’s.
“Then they came back on Saturday night, at about 9.30pm, and about five of the older ones were wearing masks, like from that film ‘V for Vendetta’.
“They were running towards Romero’s and throwing stuff at all of the takeaways, they had metal poles and bats.”
He said the police attended the scene, but were too late to catch anyone, and an hour later the gangs were back.
That night, windows and doors were smashed at Yum Yum, Thindian and Capsicum.
“It seemed like the older ones were in charge, and the little ones were just following their lead,” the witness said.
“It’s quite worrying, it’s happening right in front of our eyes. You just don’t expect that.
“Chapel Brow is a very busy street at the weekends, with people going to the pubs and takeaways, as well as the railway station.
“As far as I know, there’s no grief between anyone and the takeaway owners, so I’ve no idea what caused this.
“It could put customers off coming to the area though. It’s ridiculous. It’s a real worry.
“A lot of emotions were running high. People were shouting abuse and damaging property, and you want to protect your business and your staff, but they have weapons, so what can you do?
“It’s very painful to see, but you’re limited as to what you can do.
“It was quite intense and frightening, and I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this.”
PC Graham Whitehouse, from Leyland’s neighbourhood policing team, said plans are in place to patrol the area more next weekend.
He said: “There was an assault on Friday night where a group chased a man into Romero’s, and as a result, the window was smashed.
“On Saturday night, we received reports that youths and young adults were causing problems on Chapel Brow, and they were armed with sticks and rods.
“Some windows were broken. Officers stop-checked people in town but no arrests were made in connection with the incidents.
“We’re looking to get CCTV footage from all of the takeaways now, and we’re planning to increase our presence there at the weekend.
“We’re going to put a lot of work into this to put a stop to it, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Police are appealing for information. Call 101 if you can help.