A children’s play centre has been forced to close its doors after burglars raided the premises for cash.
A “very large sum of cash” was reported to have been taken during the break-in at Gioco Children’s Play And Party Centre, in Marus Bridge.
Staff posted on its Facebook page to announce it would be shut after the incident.
A spokesman told the Wigan Post: “The burglary took place at 10.11pm on Saturday. A significant amount of cash was stolen.
“This has caused considerable disruption and a great deal of upset to our staff and customers.”
Police confirmed they received the report of a burglary at 9am last Sunday and were investigating what happened.
Just a few days later, a second statement on Facebook announced the centre would be closed permanently.
It said: “We are sad to announce that Gioco will not be re-opening following the break in at the weekend. Unfortunately, we had a very large sum of cash stolen which is only partially recoverable through our insurance.
"This together with the excess payable on the repair of the damage caused and the lost trade while we’ve been closed means we don’t have sufficient funds to keep the business going.
“Anyone who had paid for a party with their card can get a refund from their bank through the card protection scheme. We are all devastated. Thanks to all our lovely customers for the fun we’ve had over the past 6 years. Love The G Team xx.”
Parents expressed their upset and dismay about the closure on Facebook.
Nicola Grace Shaw wrote: “Devastating news! We’ve got so many lovely memories of our son growing up at Gioco and even have a video of him taking some of his first steps in the toddler bit of the play centre! Funbox, Joxytales, Christmas Parties, Halloween Parties, my son’s birthday party!
“Can’t believe I won’t be able to make all the same memories here with my 12-week-old daughter!
“So so sad and devastated for the staff who have lost their jobs! My family and myself would like to thank The Gioco Team for many happy memories and we wish you all well in the future! xxx”
Phil King-Williams said: “Great place, such a shame. The play area was brilliant, but what made it for me was the staff. I’ll miss you all and wish you all the very best for future. Take and see ya xx”
Other entertainment centres have offered to help families whose parties were scheduled to be held at Gioco – something staff there did in 2014 after the closure of Rumble Tumble play centre.
Gioco, named after the Italian word for “play”, opened in June 2013 on Wheatlea Industrial Estate.
The 11,000sq ft facility offered play equipment, parties and events for babies, toddlers and children up to the age of 12. Gioco’s play centre in St Helens closed in June, with refunds or an alternative venue offered to people who had booked parties.