The owner of the Fans’ Museum in Sunderland has spoken of his anger after his prized collection was targeted by burglars.
The museum, based in the former Monkwearmouth Station Museum, has been founded by Michael Ganley to allow football supporters from all over the country and even abroad to view historic pieces of sporting memorabilia.
Mr Ganley was formally handed the keys to the building at the end of last year, after council bosses agreed to let the site be used by him and his team.
But now Mr Ganley, a devoted fan of the club, has spoken of his shock after finding that the building was targeted by burglars today.
Thankfully, nothing was taken, but damage was caused by the intruders who gained access to the museum via a window.
Mr Ganley said: "They gained access by smashing a window which set off the alarms and the disturbance caused them to do a runner.
"I got a call at 6.13pm from the council to say that an intruder has set the alarm off.
"I was heading back to the building from South Shields at the time and was asked if they should call the police.
"I said ‘no’ because I thought it would have just have been a false alarm caused by a piece of paper or something falling through the skylight.
"But then I came back and saw the damage, as they had smashed a window."
Mr Ganley said the building houses a priceless collection which has taken him years to accumulate.
He said the incident has made him concerned for the future of the museum.
"I am just one man with passion," he said.
"I haven't got the money to keep paying for things like this.
"I have to consider whether it is viable if it gets broken into and something is taken.
"I want this nipped in the bud."
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: "We received a report of a burglary at the SAFC Fans’ Museum.
"Nothing was taken.
"Inquiries are ongoing."