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Bitter blow as children's science centre is burgled

PUBLISHED: 11:00 14 October 2010

It has battled through a funding crisis and a crumbling tower, but now a chidren's science centre has had another bitter blow after it was burgled.

The former church building which houses the Inspire Discovery Centre in Oak Street, Norwich, was broken into on Sunday night and police are warning that it is not the only public building which has been targeted over the past few weeks.

Alex Minns, PR officer for Inspire, was the first to arrive at the centre on Monday morning.

She said: “They forced the front door of the church and then smashed their way through security door and ransacked the office. Thankfully they didn’t trash any of the exhibits but it’s going to be a pain as we do use the laptops for some of our shows and we won’t be able to do them until we get some new ones.

“It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth. We were desperately trying to claw our way through, desperately trying to keep going and then this happens.”

The centre was forced to close to the public on Monday, while the glass was cleaned up and the doors fixed, but reopened again on Tuesday.

St Edmund Church in Fishergate was broken into last week and today a Nofolk Constabulary spokesperson said: “There have been several break-ins in public buildings the West Centre Safer Neighbourhood over the past few week.

“We have several lines of enquiry and are investigating them at the moment.”

Rory Quinn, chairman of the Norwich Historic Churches Trust, which is the landlord of both former churches, said the burglar had broken into St Edmunds through a window.

He said: “In the case of Inspire, it’s surprising no one heard anything as it’s surrounded by houses.”

Inspire faced a funding crisis in 2008 and a further blow earlier this year when it emerged the 13th century tower of St Michael (Miles) Coslany Church, where Inspire is based, needs repairs costing £500,000.

To donate funds to Inspire call Miss Fearn on 01603 612612 or email info@inspirediscoverycentre.com

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk.

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