Raiders added insult to injury when they daubed abusive graffiti across the walls of a college they ransacked and burgled.
Batley’s Biketrain Community College was little more than a week from its open day for new students when thieves broke in, smashed windows and stole equipment, costing about £5,000.
The college, which offers hands-on training to young people out of work and education, was already in financial trouble before the chaos caused by the break-in.
Biketrain director Vicky Hargreave said: “It’s a massive blow to us, it makes all the staff think ‘is it really worth it?’.
“But the students showed us that it is – we gave them all a choice to go home but everyone stayed to clean up, scrub and crack on, so we have to give them credit.
“We don’t want to get to the point where we have to close down – we’re not in a good financial place.
It makes all the staff think ‘is it really worth it?’
“And it’s not just the monetary value, the equipment that was stolen is essential to the units the students are doing.”
The burglars appeared to mock staff and students by leaving graffiti that read “gone in 10 minutes”, “robbed lol”, “ha ha” and “bad boyz 4 life” on walls and cars.
Another line of graffiti appeared to be a threat aimed at one member of staff in particular, which made Miss Hargreave suspect that disgruntled former students could have been behind the attack.
As well as spray painting vehicles and smashing windows, the burglars tore out the building’s CCTV and stole a pit bike, a smaller mini moto, a compression tester, an angle grinder and a range of hand tools.
Miss Hargreave said it was only a few months since the college had to lay staff off and had very little money remaining in bank.
Any businesses that might be able to step in and help can contact Miss Hargreave at the college on 01924 565292.
Anyone with information about the burglary can call police on 101.