RAIDERS stole cash in a break-in at a Weymouth tourist attraction, as well as snapshots of its history.
A safe, a charity pot, and a laptop containing treasured photos were taken from Sandworld at Lodmoor Country Park.
The majority of the takings from the Easter weekend had been stored offsite at the time of the incident.
Nevertheless, nearly £160 was taken from a charity pot that was collecting money for MV Freedom, a boat for the disabled. More cash, thought to be around £500, was taken from a safe.
The data on the laptop, which extends back to when Sandworld first opened three years ago, isn’t backed up onto another device.
The incident happened sometime overnight on Monday and was reported yesterday morning.
Offenders got in through the site’s fence before smashing an office window to access the cash.
The incident provided an unwanted plot twist for the attraction, which opened its literary-themed exhibition for the 2014 season only a few weeks ago.
Sculptures, which include tributes to Sherlock Holmes, the Lord of the Rings, and The Jungle Book, remained untouched.
Sandworld co-owner David Hicks said: “It will be a while before we realise what’s gone, but the saving grace is that the sculptures are ok.
“The cost of bringing sculptors back from various countries around the world to repair the work would have been unbearable. It’s put a dampener on the fantastic start we have had to the season but we will soon sort everything out and get open again so we can get on with the season.”
The attraction was closed yesterday but Mr Hicks said he expected it to be open for today.
Vicky Bray, Sandworld manager, was one of two employees who discovered the break-in.
She said: “I feel like someone’s trashed my home.
“Everything’s on the computer, all the hard work, all the photos, everything – even down to the posters, the menus, hours, rotas, and everything from the past.”
Vicky said if anyone had photos of past exhibitions, she’d like to hear from them.
Dorset Police confirmed they had received a report of the break-in and were investigating.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Dorset Police on 101 quoting incident number 22:110.