VANDALS smashed their way into a church before ransacking the building, causing £10,000 in damage.
The thugs kicked in doors, smashed lights and attempted to steal the church safe.
Parishioners at Red House Methodist Church have been left stunned by the attack, which forced the vicar to cancel a service.
Now, church staff have been left to clear up the mess, as well as foot the bill for the break in.
Douglas Ambrose, church treasurer, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw what these people had done.
“They’ve just smashed up the place and it’s as if they just happened to have found electrical equipment and other things to steal along the way.
“We had to cancel the service on Sunday morning because of it and the congregation were very upset, as you can imagine.”
The yobs broke into the Redcar Road church by smashing a hole in the external wall beneath one of the building’s windows, before wreaking havoc inside.
They went on to smash all of the lights in the school room, kicked in six doors and stole about £3,000-worth of electrical equipment, including an amplifier, speakers and a keyboard, stored there by music group, The Players.
A total of £40 cash was also stolen from a cupboard. Fortunately, they were unable to get into the church safe. Mr Ambrose added: “They have left the church a mess. Along the corridors and the school room is awful.
“If you consider how much it will cost to put the church back into order, it’s thousands.
“Where they have broken in we’ve had to put up wooden boards until it’s fixed but that will cost about £1,500.
“All of the doors in the corridor with the locks will cost a lot as well, so we’re looking at about £6,000 to £7,000.”
The break-in is believed to have taken place some time between 11.45am on Friday and 10am on Sunday when the church was opened up by Mr Ambrose.
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “At about 10.20am on Sunday, police received a report of a burglary at Red House Methodist Church in Redcar Road. We are carrying out inquiries to find those responsible.”
Anyone with information is asked to phone police on 03456 043 043 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.