'PETTY vandals' smashing the windows on a former council office in Abingdon have caused metal shutters to be installed on the historic building.

Vale of White Horse District Council, which owns Old Abbey House, announced it has been forced to take the measure after advice from its insurance provider and risk officer.

Work started today and will continue until Monday, with the car park closed during this time.

The authority said it had been working with the police and a private security company, who have been patrolling the area, however, the 18th century building, which has been empty since 2014, had continued to be damaged and windows smashed.

A year ago the building was earmarked by then Vale leader, Matthew Barber, for 'much-needed' social housing.

Earlier this month Vale was accused of a 'disappointing' lack of progress on plans to create the first council-built homes in in Abingdon in decades.

Vale has said it is working with Oxfordshire County Council on a ‘one public estate’ review to look at how it can use Old Abbey House alongside other key public buildings and sites in the town.

Cabinet member Michael Murray, said: “It’s very important we take time to explore all options for Old Abbey House to make the best use of this building, so it’s a real shame that while we’re doing so irresponsible individuals have resorted to petty vandalism.

"Nobody wants to see shutters on a building in this historical setting, but we’ve been forced into this situation."