THE sad state of Bournemouth’s once-grand ABC cinema has been revealed in pictures and video taken by a group of ‘urban explorers’.

The group found their way into the Westover Road venue, which closed two-and-a-half years ago.

They found the giant curved screen of the ABC1 auditorium had been torn down, the cinema seats had been ripped out and film memorabilia lay abandoned.

The ABC, originally the Westover Super Cinema, entertained audiences for almost 80 years before it was closed in 2017 – along with the nearby Odeon – to make way for a new Odeon multiplex at the BH2 complex.

An application by Libra Homes to demolish most of the building and replace it with 62 flats was rejected.

Nathan Scullard, who runs the YouTube channel Tazer Urbex, spent several hours exploring the cinema with fellow urban explorers.

“We don’t break and enter. There was nothing broken to get in,” he said.

He said the former ABC was in a “sad state”, with seats, speakers and screens removed – including the 48ft curved screen that was said to be the biggest in the south outside London.

“The screens are torn off. The frames are there but the material of the screen is torn down,” he said.

The Philips projector which once ran giant format 70mm films was still in place. The YouTubers also found film posters, photos of promotional events and staff belongings.

There were also some snippets of celluloid, including ‘test loops’ for Sensurround, the floor-shaking sound system used in the 1970s.

There was also a stack of office diaries going back to 1951. “I can’t believe they were left there. They were 70 years old. You would have thought they could be collectors’ items,” said Mr Scullard.

“It’s a crying shame. That was my number one feeling about it. It’s a building that has so much history to it and it’s just been sat there doing nothing,” he added.

He carried out the exploration with fellow YouTubers whose channels are called the Abandoned Explorer, the Bearded Explorer and Abandoned Seekers.

The ABC was extensively revamped in 1970, when its original auditorium was replaced with “twin” screens. A third screen was added in 1973.

In its rejected plans for the site, Libra Homes had pledged to restore the cinema’s original Art Deco frontage, if it survives under the cladding that was added in the 1960s.