BURGLARS smashed two 100-year-old stained glass windows during a community centre break-in.

The 'brazen' vandals caused thousands of pounds of damage to St Mary's Centre, Clitheroe, between 11pm on Thursday and 6am today.

They left empty-handed but turned out all the drawers out in the community centre's offices and broke two valuable stained glass windows.

Reverend Andrew Froud, the chair of trustees at St Mary's, described the burglars as 'mindless' and 'thoughtless'.

He said: "It's very upsetting anytime a place gets broken into, but a community centre? You just can't believe it."

The reverend said this was the latest of a series of break-ins in the Ribble Valley.

He said a safe was stolen from St Mary's Church, Gisburn, in recent weeks while churches in Chatburn and Downham were broken into in the last month.

Mr Froud said: "What surprises me is that they have done it in such a public place. It's an audacious attack to not just go through one window but two."

The Church Street community centre includes a theatre, dance floor and bar in the main hall, a sports hall, meeting rooms and kitchen.

Thousands of people have been through the community centre's doors this week to watch the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.

Mr Froud said the "show must go on" for the community centre and added: "I'm just glad the production was not disrupted."

Clitheroe councillor Alan Knox described the burglars as 'brazen'.

The Liberal Democrat said: "It's a sad indictment of the lack of police coverage.

"If officers are going to be anywhere at night they should be in the town centre."

A police spokesman said: "We received a call about a break-in at St Mary's Centre, on Church Street, Clitheroe at around 8.20am.

"The front windows have been smashed and some drawers have been opened. We are not sure if anything has been taken at this stage."

Contact the police on 101 referencing log number 312 of February 22.