OWNERS of a quirky launderette-turned-gig venue are counting the cost after a break-in.
The Old Cinema Launderette, in Durham, hosts evening shows after the shop has finished its business for the day, following on from the building’s long history as an entertainment venue.
But its bosses were dealt a blow after the front window was smashed and thieves made off with the shop’s till – which was empty – during a raid on Saturday.
It was discovered in a garden near the business in Gilesgate, damaged beyond repair.
Kathy Turner, who runs the venture with husband Richard, a mental health nurse, has been left out of pocket by the raid, which was the second on the shop.
She said: “It took hours to clean up. The glass broke into tiny chips which flew all over the shop. I work six days a week and normally take Sundays off to spend with the kids.
“I have my grandkids on Saturday nights but I couldn’t look after them this week, it’s just not fair.
“I put about 80 hours a week in at the shop and I am sometimes there at 5am or 6am. It is hard, physical graft and this happening makes it harder.”
The couple – who have nicknamed themselves Mr and Mrs Wishy Washy thanks to their shop’s trade – have had to use a Tupperware box for a till so they could carry on trading.
Kathy estimates they will lose out by about £700 for the repairs and new till.
She added: “It is frustrating, because it was such a pointless crime. We leave the till open and it was quite clearly empty. What has been good is the support of our customers and the businesses around us.”
Supporters have rallied round the couple and was presented with a bunch of flowers by the host family of one of a team of young cricketers visiting from Australia – who are having their cricket whites cleaned at the laundrette.
During its days as a cinema, the business was known as The Crescent then The Rex. It has also been used as a bingo hall.
Acts to have played at the revamped venue include Bridie Jackson and the Arbour, and Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, who collected a Bafta for their theme music for the Wallander television series, and local acts The Lake Poets, and Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra.
l A man has been charged in connection with the break-in and will appear at Durham Crown Court next Friday.