Callous thieves have broken into a volunteer-run maritime museum, trashing the office and making off with the safe.
The crooks struck at the Newbiggin museum during the night of Saturday, June 23.
They smashed CCTV cameras, fire warning lights, other lights, including street lighting on the promenade, and even a charity-donated defibrillator.
All telephone lines were cut and much of the IT system was disabled, before they smashed a window in order to remove the safe from the building.
Although it is not yet known how much money was taken, the safe contained the previous week’s takings, floats, staff tips and donation box contents.
Peter Seddon, a director of the centre, said: “The most disappointing feature of this was not so much what was stolen – although this was quite considerable – but the malicious damage perpetrated by the mindless intruders, who damaged seven years’ accumulation of donation recognition on our Fish Wall.”
It had to close on the following day, but the operation was up and running again on the Monday, albeit with a curtailed service.
“We are slowly getting back to normal,” said Peter.
Newbiggin Maritime Centre also includes the Breakwater Café, the Seashore Shop, a three-gallery museum and the large Latimer Function Room.