OWNERS and students of a Kidderminster dance studio have been left devastated after thieves broke in and stole thousands of pounds worth of equipment.

Kerry and Ges Morris, who run M&M Dance and Fitness Studio, said the thieves had taken all their equipment, including two iPods, a stereo, a CD player, a pair of speakers and disco lights as well as causing damage to the building.

They discovered the effects of the burglary last Friday afternoon, when Mr Morris opened the studio to what he called “World War Three”.

“As soon as I opened the door I noticed things were out of place in the corridor so I knew something was up,” he said.

“I walked through the door and saw my office had been ransacked. They stole things like CRBs, our dance qualifications, insurance certificates and a lot of our important paperwork but that can be replaced. It’s worse that the expensive equipment has been taken.

“For people to cause damage and steal from a second home to a lot of the kids who come here every day is a disgrace.”

Mrs Morris said: “It’s taken years for me to open my own studio and we have only been open here for a few months.

“The studio means the world to not only us but for the hundreds of kids who come here to learn and compete.”

The studio runs dance classes six days a week for children aged from 18 months to 18 years. It also contains a competitive group, Expression School of Dance, which regularly takes part in festivals and competitions all over the country.

Two of the students, 13-year-old Karis Ryland and 14-year-old Bea Coles, said they and the rest of the children were heartbroken.

Karis said: “It’s really annoying as all the money we made by fundraising to go toward entering competitions will now have to go on replacing the equipment.

“It affects all the dancers who want to challenge themselves and compete at bigger festivals who now can’t – it’s heartbreaking”

“We’re a family here and for a lot of us it’s our second home," Bea said.

“It’s upsetting that people would do this to a place that gives so much to so many people.”

Student teacher Kirsty Davies, 18, who has been a dancer at the studio for 14 years, was with Mr Morris when he opened the studio, in Edwin Avenue, on Friday afternoon.

Miss Davies said: “It was just devastating to see and it breaks your heart. The kids are so scared and it has really upset them.

“Some are even having nightmares and are scared to attend because they think the people who did it will come back.”

The thieves broke into the studio between 7.30pm last Thursday and 3.30pm on Friday.

They got into the building by smashing a toilet window and using a saw to cut clean through solid metal bars.

Equipment worth an estimated £3,500 as well as £300 of cash, which was in the office, was taken.

The group is now appealing to local people and businesses to help find or replace the stolen equipment.

“Kerry has built this place up by herself,” Mr Morris said.

“We’ve never had any grants, loans or company help before – we’ve put every penny we’ve made into the studio.

Mrs Morris said: “We’re a little tiny business and we’re now stuck as there’s nothing we can do.

“I hope there are businesses and people out there who can do something to help the wonderful kids who love coming here.”

The group has posted pictures of the equipment which has been taken on its facebook page.

For more information about the group or to view the pictures visit facebook.com/Mmdancestudios To help M&M Dance and Fitness Studio call 01562 743463 or email mmdancestudios@yahoo.co.uk.