Leeds children’s play centre broken into by burglars for second time in four months

Hazel Merlino with her niece Freya Underwood when the Rainbow Factory opened
Hazel Merlino with her niece Freya Underwood when the Rainbow Factory opened
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Burglars have targeted a children’s activity centre for the second time in four months.

The thieves broke into the Rainbow Factory, at Springfield Commercial Centre on Bagley Lane in Farsley, overnight on Tuesday.

They left empty-handed, but are also believed to have raided the neighbouring Workhouse Fitness Club gym and creche.

Sarah Underwood, who runs the play centre with her sister Hazel Merlino, said: “As a small business owner you pour your blood, sweat and tears into something you care passionately about – in our case, a project that aims to inspire children with a love of reading. And to feel that people can just walk in and try to take that away is really disheartening.

“At least they left empty-handed, as no cash or anything of value is ever left on the premises.”

The only venture of its kind in the north, the Rainbow Factory was backed by entrepreneur Richard Branson when it opened to encourage children to experience classic and modern stories through activities and handmade models.

Tuesday night’s incident came just four months after the centre was ransacked by thieves who stole a safe and trashed a play area.

But Mrs Underwood said: “We refuse to let something like this deter us from all the positive things we hope to achieve.”

She said the incident would not affect opening hours or school trips.

Anyone with information should call the outer west neighbourhood policing team via 101.