Burglars who broke into a church, stealing hundreds of pounds worth of children’s toys and equipment have been branded ‘lowlives’.
Intruders are thought to have sneaked into Roker Methodist Church on Monday evening and hidden inside as it was locked up before carrying out the raid.
The thieves stole toys used by the church’s toddler and youth groups, along with a laptop, and also helped themselves to food and drinks after smashing the locks on cupboard doors.
The theft has left church steward Karen Davison and the rest of the congregation angry and disappointed.
She said: “Everything we do is voluntary, all the youth groups, we have Brownies and toddler groups.
“We work hard to do what we do with the kids and to think someone can just help themselves to something that we worked really hard to get, makes me so angry. They are just lowlives.”
Ms Davison said one of the members of the congregation had gone to the church, in Roker Park Road, on Tuesday evening and had noticed some cupboards doors open.
“At first he thought someone had made a mess making a cup of tea and continued doing what he was doing.
“But when he looked around he realised we had been broken into.”
Ms Davison said her son had tried one of the doors and had been unable to get in because the intruders had put the sneck on the lock so that nobody could get in from the outside.
“He then phoned me to say ‘I think you need to come down’,” she said.
“We don’t know for sure how they got in. They may have hidden in the church, because there were no signs of forced entry. They may well have got in when the church was open the night before and hidden somewhere in the church.”
A ‘My First Laptop’, a regular laptop, a string of fairy lights and other items were taken, and the locks were prised off the cupboard doors.
“That’s what we know of, until we start looking around properly, we won’t know 100% what is missing, but they must have been hungry because they opened a tin of hot dogs and had two hot dogs, a box of Maltesers, a bottle of water and a bottle of pop,” Ms Davison added.
Northumbria Police said the burglary happened sometime between 10.45pm on Monday and 5pm on Tuesday, and officers continue to investigate the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to call 101, ext 6919, quoting reference 819 of 27/10/15 or to call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.