A SPATE of break-ins hit premises and homes around Chickerell and the Granby industrial estate over the weekend.

A children's play centre and a locksmiths were targeted by criminals who smashed windows with bricks and vandalised the premises' interiors on Sunday evening, in a pair of incidents police believe are related.

Keith Rupp, the director of the Fun Factory play complex on the Granby estate, said he was alerted to a break-in by the centre's alarm company just after 7pm on Sunday.

"I dashed down there in 10 minutes and found they'd smashed the reception window with a brick," Mr Rupp told the Echo. He explained that the intruders had vandalised an empty till and a laptop but had found nothing to steal. "They didn't take anything, they just made a mess," he said, adding that given the lack of expertise, he suspected the culprits were teenagers.

Mr Rupp noted that it was the second time in three years the Fun Factory had suffered a break-in.

Shortly afterwards on the same evening, the front door of Wessex Locksmiths on Abbotsbury Road was smashed open. CCTV footage shows a man and a woman entering the premises, shining a light on the till then leaving.

According to police reports, the woman is white, around five feet five inches tall and of medium build. She was wearing a baseball cap, grey hooded top, skinny jeans and trainers. The man, meanwhile, is described as white, around five feet six inches tall and of slim build. He was wearing a grey hooded tracksuit top and bottoms with black trainers.

The locksmiths' managing director, Nick McCann, said he believed the intruders had been after till takings, and had left after finding none. "They used a tool to smash the glass then shoulder-barged their way in," he said.

Weymouth Police Constable Matthew Love said: “Due to the similarities in the nature of these break-ins and the timings, at this stage we believe they could be linked.

“As part of our ongoing investigation into these incidents, we are releasing the CCTV footage of the suspects from Wessex Locksmiths. I appreciate it is not the best quality, but I am appealing for anyone who recognises the man and woman, or the descriptions given, to contact police.

“We are also appealing for anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in the area of the Fun Factory or Wessex Locksmiths around the relevant times to please get in touch.”

Meanwhile, overnight on Saturday, there were separate reports of a break-in to a shed and an attempted break-in to a garden, both on Elizabeth Way in Chickerell.

On Sunday morning, Dorset Police received a report of an attempt to force entry to a garden in Elizabeth Way in Chickerell by tampering with a garden fence and gate, believed to have occurred the previous night. There is no evidence that any entry was gained.

A further report was subsequently filed of a shed being broken into at another address in Elizabeth Way. It was reported that the door was forced and four gardening gloves were taken. The break-in was reported to have occurred between 5pm on Saturday and 10.30am on Sunday.

No arrests have been made.

Police said these incidents are not believed to be connected to the incidents on the Granby Industrial Estate. Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.