A call has been made for support to help a South Tyneside community centre protect itself from burglars.
Staff at Hedworthfield Community Association, based on the Fellgate Estate, Jarrow, were left heartbroken after the venue was broken into twice within weeks.
The latest break-in left the building with thousands of pounds worth of damage. Items stolen also included raffle prizes and cash which were to be donated to help the family of teenager, Brogan Shanley.
The teenager is currently battling a brain tumour and money is being raised to send her to Florida so she can have NHS-funded proton-beam treatment over the course of 10 weeks after being diagnosed in December.
The break-in was to the part of the building used by Monkton and Hedworth Gymnastics and Hed Fit gym.
Coun Geraldine Kilgour said: “We have had massive police support since it’s happened, we really can’t fault them.
“There have been at least three names given to who may have been responsible which have been passed onto the police.
“Everybody has been absolutely amazing and we have had people offering donations to Brogan’s fund.
“We are remaining positive, but we can’t get away from the fact this has had serious repercussions. At the request of the community we had left the side gate open for young people to come in and use the grounds, which helped to reduce anti-social behaviour and perceived anti-social behaviour in the area as it was giving young people a place to go. However, we are now going to have the lock that gate to increase the security of the building.
“We are back up and running, however, there is still a lot of damage to be repaired and we are looking to see what other security measures we can taken.
“The Community Centre is self-funded and any help people can offer to help us to protect the building for our residents would be gratefully received.”
Anyone who can help is asked to contact the centre on 519 6700.
Anyone with information to the break-in which happened on January 6 to contact police on 101 quoting reference number 0230 06/01/18.