The owner of a Hartlepool dance studio has been left devastated after the site was burgled by yobs.
Elwick Studios, in Bathgate Terrace, was targeted over the weekend with the venue’s full sound system taken.
Police have confirmed they are investigating the break-in.
As well as ransacking the studio, a framed photograph of Freda Compton, who founded the organisation in 1949, was also taken.
Freda died aged 83 back in 2010 after bravely battling cancer.
Her heartbroken son Geoff Lucas, 57, who is now the studio’s owner, is now hoping that the items taken can be returned.
Speaking to the Mail, Geoff, who lives in London but regularly visits Hartlepool, said: “This is devastating for us.
“The police seem to think it might be drug addicts who needed some quick money.
“One of the windows has been smashed as well as the equipment being taken.
“We’re covered by insurance of course, but that’s not the point.”
Staff from the studios, including its principal Leanne Jeffries, were in Southport, Merseyside, for the Le Classique de Danse at the time of the burglary at which member Georgia Lennon was winning the theatre senior vocal award.
Geoff added the losing the photo has been particularly hard to take.
“I know it’s only a sentimental thing but it means a lot to me,” he said.
“It’s a pointless thing to take from their point of view.
“If anyone does see it lying about then it would be something I’d like back.
“We’ve had a problem with yobs for quite a while now and they seem to either damage the shutters or throw eggs at the windows.
“They need to find something better to do with their time.”
The burglary is believed to have taken place sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said officers are investigating the theft of a sound system from the studio.
Anyone with information should call the force on the non-emergency 101 line.