Hammer thieves target play centre

Photo Ian Robinson Jollie's Barn, a children's play barn, at Mere Brow near Tarleton
Photo Ian Robinson Jollie's Barn, a children's play barn, at Mere Brow near Tarleton
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Staff at a children’s play barn have spoken of their anger after thieves smashed their way into the centre and stole a safe containing £2,000.

Two men used a sledge hammer to target Jollie’s Barn in Mere Brow, just minutes after workers locked up for the evening.

Police are now investigating, but the centre owner said she felt “sick” after the daylight attack.

Owner Sara Brookes said CCTV footage showed the thieves smashing their way into the Tarleton play barn on Sunday, just three minutes after the last staff member had left.

She said: “They put a sledge hammer through the glass door.

“Then they came in, went straight in, picked up a very heavy safe and went off with it before I had managed to get in to sort the float for the night.

“It was 5.40pm on a Sunday, and it was still light.”

Sara said she had to send two staff members home the following day, because they were “absolutely petrified” by what had happened.

She said: “We had a morning planned with families of children with special needs, with a coffee morning to see what we can do for them.

“We had opened an hour early, but unfortunately I had to spent all morning on the phone to the police and insurance.”

Sara said police had responded “amazingly quickly” to the report, but said she felt “sick” that the business she had built from scratch had been targeted.

She said: “We’ve only been open 14 months.

“I’ve put my life and heart and soul into this place as something the local community can get a lot out of, and these idiots came in and destroyed that.

“We all feel very vulnerable.”

Police have launched an appeal for information following the incident, and said the offenders, who are both white, are believed to have fled in a green, old style Vauxhall Vectra.

PC Thomas Jay from West Lancashire Target Team said: “An investigation is underway but I would appeal to anybody with any information that could help us to find the men responsible to contact police on 101.

“The offenders were only in the building for 30 seconds or less so I believe the safe was deliberately targeted and they knew exactly where to go to find it.”