CAMPAIGNERS are calling for action to save a former police station that has become a magnet for crime.

The historic building in Inchinnan Road, Renfrew, was home to the town’s force for more than 100 years until it closed its doors in 2012.

Now it is regularly targeted by vandals and looters, with local residents urging Renfrewshire Council to restore it to its former glory.

Police Scotland, as previous tenants, had to spend £600,000 on repairs in 2018.

Since then, the building has deteriorated further, with windows smashed and graffiti plastered on the walls. Thieves have also broken in to pinch fixtures and fittings.

Paul Morton, who lives nearby, would like to see the building used as a community centre and training school.

The 54-year-old retired electronics engineer is a member of the Common Good Awareness Project, which campaigns to make the most of publicly-owned assets such as the old police station.

He told The Gazette: “I’m appalled that this magnificent building has lain empty for so long. It can’t be sold because it is a community asset, owned by the people of Renfrew.

Its upkeep is the responsibility of the Renfrew Common Good Fund, run by a board of trustees, including our local councillors.

“In recent years, there has been a failure to maintain the building properly.

“This is a fantastic property that can be turned into something to benefit the whole community. Instead, it has been allowed to rot.”

The listed building was gifted to Renfrew as a purpose-built police station by local shipbuilder Sir Frederick Lobnitz in the early part of the 20th century.

It also had its own criminal court and accommodation for police officers.

Mr Morton added: “This building is part of our history and still has a role to play but it has been badly neglected.

“The Renfrew Common Good Fund trustees need to sit down with Renfrewshire Council and do something.

“There is almost £15million in the fund and the trust can release that money to renovate this magnificent old building.

“Until something is done, it will continue to decay.”

Lindsay McKillop, secretary of Renfrew Community Council, is also calling for the building to be saved.

She said: “This could be a real asset for the community, which is crying out for meeting places.”

After the old ‘cop shop’ closed, Renfrew’s police team moved to new offices in the town’s Station Road.

Councillor Jane Strang, who represents Renfrew for the Conservatives, said: “I am open-minded to all proposals as to the future of the building.

“It simply cannot be allowed to become a hunting ground for vandals and looters and those carrying out anti-social behaviour.”

”With the police having given up their lease on this building years ago, we now need to see renewed impetus in order to deliver a bright future for this landmark.”

Council chiefs said they would welcome any community or commercial interest in the old station.

A spokesperson added: “The building is currently secured to prevent deterioration and is monitored to identify any repairs required.

“We will continue to work closely with the local community and commercial organisations to find a suitable way of bringing the building back into operation.”