Sunderland's new Pop Recs culture hub broken into for third time

The owners of a city centre venue aiming to boost Sunderland’s cultural offering say it’s a ‘real kick in the teeth’ to be broken into just weeks before their opening.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 3:10 pm

In the past few years, Pop Recs has made great strides in bringing top music names to the heart of Sunderland, whilst also helping to foster future talent.

Its third incarnation is just weeks away from opening after completely transforming once dilapidated buildings at the far end of High Street West into a multi-purpose culture hub.

But for the third time in a year, the venue has been damaged by would-be thieves.

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Pop Recs has been broken into for the third time in a year

Last night, October 13, someone has attempted to break into the site, smashing a front door. Because of internal shutters, they got away with nothing, but left £1,200 worth of damage.

Michael McKnight, who founded Pop Recs with fellow members of Frankie & the Heartstrings, said: “We are in this area because we are trying to improve and regenerate it, so to have this happen is a real kick in the teeth.

"They actually got away with nothing, but to have a locksmith come out to make the door temporarily safe it’s £200, then, because it’s a listed building, a new front door will cost £1,000. So that’s £1,200 for nothing.

"We aren’t trading at the minute so we have no money coming in, but we have an insane amount of outgoings while we get ready to open. So to have this cost on top of that is really disheartening.”

From left Pop Recs Jo Gordon and Michael McKnight with Midnight Pizza Cru owner Dan Shannon.

Previously, thieves have stolen a coffee machine and children’s music equipment from Pop Recs.

Michael said: “This has happened to other businesses in the area and on one occasion all they got was £12 petty cash. They are causing all this damage for £12.”

As well as bringing a host of acts to the city to perform in its stage area, in the former original Binns building, Pop Recs will host community groups and provide training opportunities for young people.

The damage caused by would-be thieves

The hub has teamed up with the hugely-successful Midnight Pizza Crü venture which will run the coffee shop side of the business when it opens next month.

Pop Recs itself will open on October 22 with a soft launch art event which will be invite only. The coffee shop is due to open in November.

A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “At around 9am today (Thursday) police received a report of a burglary at a shop on High Street West, Sunderland.

“It is believed the incident happened between 6pm on Wednesday, October 13 and 8.55am on Thursday, October 14, where someone has forced the front door in an attempt to gain entry to the store.

Pop Recs has transformed empty buildings at the end of High Street West

"Enquiries are ongoing and anyone who may have witnessed anything or has any information is asked to contact police via the Tell Us Something page or contact 101 quoting reference 0180 of the 14/10/2021.”

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