A BURGLARY at the Museum of Computing has meant a programming workshop for local kids will be put on hold.

The break-in at the volunteer-run museum happened during the night on November 26.

Nine Samsung tablets and an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset were taken, to the value of around £2,400.

The tablets were used with the computers to run a kids club every Saturday teaching Python

Three young men from Swindon were arrested and have been charged on suspicion of burglary, and one with possession of an offensive weapon, and released on bail. They will appear at Swindon Magistrates Court later this month.

Manager of the museum Phil Compton told the Adver: "I don't think they knew what to nick, they just took the obvious stuff to sell on.

"I just feel sorry for the youngsters. It's about education and we're trying to educate the kids. The tablets were used for the kids club. We do two forms of programming using Scratch and Python. Those nine tablets were used as an aid to write programmes for the computers."

The museum collects old models of computers and games consoles to create a history of technology and holds regular events to showcase its collection.

Simon Webb, the museum curator, told the Adver: "It was all quite depressing. Even more so is the lads who now probably have criminal records.

"We're a volunteer-run and not-for-profit museum so its always a struggle to keep things running, then when something like this happens it's the last thing you need. Hopefully it's not going to happen again.

A fundraising page was set up by volunteer Jack Miles, which was supported by the MP for North Swindon Justin Tomlinson who wrote "I hope the Swindon community can rally round the @Museumcomputing are a great team."

The museum says it is searching for keen volunteers for front of house and cataloguing roles to help it re-open on Fridays again after it recently lost two volunteers. Anyone interested can contact Phil on philcompton@hotmail.co.uk.

The fundraising page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/raise-money-for-museum-of-computing?pc=&rcid=r01-154368451043-6a1fa8853e034ea6