A community has rallied round after burglars raided their local church.
The break in, at the Independent Methodist Church, in North Road, Boldon Colliery, saw charity cash raised by children stolen along with much-needed equipment.
The burglary was discovered by a group leader who found the place had been ransacked, property from a number of groups who use the centre had been taken and knives from the kitchen were dumped on the floor.
But people in Boldon Colliery have dug deep to help the church - known locally as The Chapel - continue its role in the commnity.
Help has come in the form of a string of donations to pay for damage and improve security. A crowdfunding page has been created by local funeral director Glen Millar.
Mr Miller said: “People in the area have really taken this personally. It is such a big part of their community.
This church has been here since 1885 and it is the first time in its history it has been broken into.Iris Ogilvie
“The fundraising has been going really well. The People’s Angels have donated £500 and people have stopped me in the street to hand over cash.
“We are trying to raise as much as we can to help the church as much as we can.”
The raid came at a time when the church was expanding - revonating some former stables to create more space for its after school club and other groups.
Iris Ogilvie, church treasurer said: “This church has been here since 1885 and it is the first time in its history it has been broken into. They have been into everything. They were obviously looking for money.
“They have taken a laptop, a TV and dragged our safe out, causing damage to the floor. There is nothing in it but books which are valuable to us.
“The children have a big tub they had been saving their pennies in. It was to raise money for children in Syria. They have destroyed that and taken the money.
“The lady who first discovered it has been struggling to come into the church. She keeps picturing the knives all over the floor.”
Mrs Ogilvie added: “When we found out what the community were doing for us we were so overwhelmed.”
Police say the break-in happened between 7.45pm on Sunday and 7.15am on Monday.
Anyone with informtion to the break-in is asked to contact police on 101 quoting 157 160117 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.