RAIDERS have stolen thousands of pounds in cash raised for a girl battling leukaemia from a nursery.

The thieves smashed their way into Blossoms Private Day Nursery, in Vale Street, Bacup, before ripping a safe containing £5,000 from the wall.

Just under half the cash, £2,400, had been raised by volunteers to help pay for the care of two-year-old Anna Brooks, who used to attend the nursery before she became ill.

Staff at the nursery and members of Team Anna, who formed to raise money for the tot’s support by children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent, said they were ‘devastated’ by the theft.

John Williams, director of the nursery, said: “The women were in tears when they realised the money for Anna had been stolen.

“There was £5,000 in the safe, which had been torn out of the wall, £2,400 of which was raised for Anna.

“It’s sickening. It makes it all the more worse knowing where the money was going.

“We were just waiting for a good time to present it to her family.

”The burglars trashed the place. There are four doors needing repairs which they kicked.”

Anna is currently receiving intensive chemotherapy at Manchester Children’s Hospital and is expected to be able to receive oral chemotherapy from home in around three months.

Sara Steel, of Team Anna, said: “We are devastated. Nearly half of the money we have raised has been stolen.”

The raiders kicked in a panel of the UPVC front door at the centre on Tuesday and also snatched a petty cash box, a Toshiba computer and a CCTV recording box for the premises.

Anyone with information on the incident, should call police on 101.

To donate to Anna’s fund, visit the website