BOSCOMBE'S popular Shelley Theatre was raided by burglars on Wednesday night, but the culprits made off with just £2.50.

Police were called to the theatre in Beechwood Avenue at 11.26pm that evening to find the venue had been ransacked.

The theatre, which is leased to the Shelley Theatre Trust, has a charity box which they use to raise money for local causes.

As there is no money kept on the premises, the culprits took the box and a measly £2.50.

Manager Zoe Dunne said: “They gained entry through our Mulberry Room and caused quite a bit of damage. They then went into the bar and then proceeded to turn the place upside down.

“Its gobsmacking the amount of destruction they have caused, they ripped out the till system and some of the loose things behind the bar.

“We are very lucky that our till system wasn’t affected because that would have been an expensive thing to replace.

"However, it is the whole worry aspect of it, you just feel that little bit more unsafe. It is like someone breaking into your home.

“The police have been absolutely fantastic. We had a great CSI team come in this morning and said they found good footprints and fingerprints.

"One of the members of the CSI team even left with one of our brochures and said he wanted to come back and see a show.”

The building, built as a house for Frankenstein author Mary Shelley who died before its completion, has become a community hub since being converted into a theatre in 1870.

Since posting images of the break in on social media, the theatre company have received a wave of support from the local community and those living further afield with messages of support.

“We have had quite a few customers come in, even ones who would not usually come to the theatre, just to check in and see if they can do anything to help,” said Ms Dunne.

“There have been some people who have been willing to donate money to help fix the broken door and the rest of the damage which is really lovely.

“The local community support that we have received has been incredible, people have been getting in contact with us to ask if we need any help or assistance. The community spirit has been brilliant.”

A spokesman from Dorset Police said: “We received a call at 11.26pm last night regarding a commercial burglary at the Shelley Theatre on Beechwood Avenue. Officers have attended the scene and have carried out a search of the premises. We are carrying out enquiries but there have been no arrests made so far."