THIEVES who stole £2,000 worth of televisions and computer equipment from a Sunderland charity project have been branded “the lowest of the low”.
Months of hard fund-raising work by members of the A690 Youth Initiative saw them generate cash to buy the entertainment systems.
However, thieves broke into the Grindon Lane premises on Wednesday night and stole two new 50in televisions, a PlayStation 4 games console and games.
Sharon Semley, manager of the centre, which is based next to Sandhill View School, said the children who know about the theft are distraught.
However, a large number are away on activity programmes and she doesn’t know how they will break the news to them.
Sharon said: “We have 150 young people in this centre on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights and they have all worked so hard to raise the money for these things.
“It is just dreadful that someone could do this to them.”
Members of the centre, where volunteers work hard to support teenagers in the area and give them somewhere to meet and get off the streets, hosted activities including sponsored sleepovers and supermarket bag packs to raise the money for the televisions and console.
Sharon said: “These thieves are the lowest of the low. We try to empower the young people and encourage them to take ownership of the items they buy, and then someone comes along and does something like this.
“We can’t understand how they have managed to get the two televisions back through the window, one of which they even took from brackets on the wall.” Thieves broke into the centre through a window and made off with the items.
The centre is covered by a CCTV camera and Sharon is hoping footage from this might help to find the culprits.
Police confirmed they are investigating the burglary, which took place between 10.45pm and 11.10pm on Wednesday.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police, said: “Any witnesses, or anyone who has information about the stolen items, should contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference number 211301014.”