Heartless thieves cut the electrics in a building used by Handcross Playgroup and stole an electronically-controlled awning worth thousands of pounds.
The theft over the weekend has devastated playgroup helpers who discovered the awning was missing on Monday morning.
Lisa Roberts, who runs the playgroup from the pavilion on the recreation ground, said: “We had a break-in over the summer when a lap-top was taken - now this. The awning is red and white striped and six metres long so someone may have seen something over the weekend. It’s so large, it’s not something that could be taken away easily.
“The awning is electronically controlled and whoever was responsible for the theft cut the electrics.”
Lisa is grateful to the foreman and an electrician from a nearby building site for going over on Monday morning to ensure the electrics were safe.
She said: “We are a non-profit-making charitable organisation that funded the awning to the sum of £4,500 to enable our children to benefit from safe, free flow play.
“The awning protects them from the rain and from harmful UV rays and allows them to go in and out and benefit from fresh air.
“The awning is not something we can afford to replace, yet it is of great benefit to the children. The company that provided the awning said the scrap value would be £25.”
Anyone who saw anything suspicious on the recreation ground by the pavilion over the weekend is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting crime number: wm1/00956013
Caption: Lisa Roberts is putting on a brave face for the children