OWNERS of a theatre company are 'heartbroken' after their van containing all their equipment was stolen from Great Harwood.

Denise Francis runs Firehouse Productions who are based in South Wales and they take anti-bullying productions into primary schools.

However, disaster struck on Monday morning when they discovered their white transit van had been stolen from a property on Edge End.

Denise said: "We were due to work in Greater Manchester all week and two members of the team had been staying in a cottage.

"They have taken the van with all the music and sound equipment, all our props and costumes.

"But one of the worst things was our scenery which was done by an local artist Adam Griffiths but he has now died so I would not be able to get that replaced and it is lost forever.

"It feels like a bereavement as someone has taken my livelihood away.

"We are victims of crime as it means we can't do our shows to 2,500 kids this week.

"We visit them to talk about anti-bullying themes.

"It also means we have lost £7-8,000 in revenue.

"The scenery is of no use to anyone and we are just hoping that someone finds it instead of it being left dumped in some field somewhere.

"We have held shows at Great Harwood Primary School and when they heard about it they said they would share it on social media to see if it could be found.

"It is galling that we will lose thousands of pounds and our scenery will be dumped somewhere."

Denise added: "I am just glad that they did not break into the cottage to get the keys and the most important asset is that no-one was hurt.

"Everyone is distraught about it.

"We have spoken to the police about it and they have said there have been a spate of thefts of vehicles."

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: "We have had reports of a White Ford transit van being stolen from an address on Edge End.

"We are appealing for anyone with information to get in touch with us on 101 using the reference number 0237 of February 10."