YOUNGSTERS have been left ‘livid’ after a thief broke into their drop-in centre and stole thousands of pounds worth of equipment.

A 32in television, an Xbox, a Playstation, a Wii console and around 55 games were among the items stolen from the Action for the Community and Town charity Cheethams, which is based in Blackburn.

Volunteers and workers at the centre, which is used by around 250 children and young people every week, said everyone at the Lawrence Street facilities was ‘absolutely gutted’.

Centre manager Sinclair Morris said: “The kids are going to be sickened about it because they are going to have much less to do.

“They now know that when they come back after the Christmas break, they will have nothing to use.

“It is a really important project. Cheethams is right on their doorstep and is there for those who cannot afford to go into town to the Youth Zone.

“Whether they want to let off a bit of steam, get involved in a project or just relax, we are there for them.

“It is just keeping them out of trouble.”

The charity, which is known locally as The Cheets, is based at the former Cheetham Arms, in Lawrence Street and was started 11 years ago.

It is open five days a week and provides a place for young people to socialise, get advice and relax.

Mr Morris said the equipment was so important because it encouraged people to keep out of trouble.

He said: “It is frustrating. Whoever this guy is should just bring the stuff back.

“If they did, I would have no qualms.

“Hopefully they will see that they have not taken the games from me, they have taken them from the kids.”

Kate Hollern, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, took to Twitter to express her disgust at the the break in.

She said: “I cannot believe that some piece of scum stole all the games from the Cheets.

“The kids are devastated.”

PC Matt Lennie said: “This is a dispicable crime, especially at this time of year, that has affected a whole community “We also think that the offender has taken a till which is likely to have been dumped somewhere, so if anybody comes across that or has been offered any of the items, I urge them to get in touch with us.”

Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 with any information.