TODDLERS have taken strides and refused to be beaten by a thief who stole their new playhouse.
The children aged two to four at Seascape Sure Start Centre in Peterlee were left devastated after the thief took about £1,000-worth of outdoor play equipment.
The stolen items included a new £600 playhouse that the little ones never even got the chance to use.
Now the children have held a sponsored walk, which has so far raised £250, to buy replacements.
The walk, by 26 of the children, took place between the nursery, in Ellison Road, and the playpark in Robson Avenue, a round trip of about half-a-mile – no short distance for little legs, although there was a picnic in the middle.
Kelly Walton, Seascape daycare manager, said: “The children, staff, parents and grandparents had a lovely morning, as well as raising funds to support the nursery and buy new equipment.
“People have been very kind since our things were stolen. Pc Carol McComb of Peterlee Neighbourhood Police joined us on the walk and helped the children to cross the road.
“We would also like to thank Kevin Cooke of Ground Lock Security. He heard about what happened and made two picnic benches for the nursery.
“We hope to replace all the stuff, but we won’t be buying another playhouse, in case it attracts more thieves.”
The theft took place between the night of Monday, April 11, and the following morning. Also stolen were a wooden ornamental bridge, a kids’ picnic table, shrubs the children had planted and two small benches.
Police believe the thief broke into the nursery’s shed with a crowbar.
They have yet to trace the person responsible and are keen to speak to anyone with any information about the theft.
Contact Pc Neil Johnson on 0845 6060365 or ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.