WOODCHURCH Leisure Centre was evacuated after a stolen car crashed into an outbuilding and caused a gas leak.

A children's dance troupe were practicing inside at the time and detectives said it was a "miracle" nobody was hurt.

The incident occurred at Carr Bridge Road facility last Tuesday.

Four young men were seen running away from the wrecked car in the direction of Noctorum.

Detectives believe the impact may have left them with whiplash or other injuries and are appealing to the public for help in tracing them.

Police say the car caused "significant damage" to outbuildings and to the gas supply and feeder pipes within it.

A short time after the crash a member of staff at the centre reported smelling gas. The car’s fuel tank was also damaged and petrol was leaking out, so firefighters were called and made the vehicle safe.

On Thusday of last week, the repair work was continuing and the centre remained closed as a precaution.

Superintendent Richie Davies from Wirral Command Team said: “The impact of the collision was considerable and had they hit the main building we may have been talking about many people being seriously injured.

“The leisure centre was fully in use and in fact a local children’s dance troupe were just some of the people inside at the time.

“Not only have the people in the car caused a serious collision, they have also fled the scene not caring to see who they might have injured or what damage they caused.

“I am sure they will be been left shaken and perhaps even injured by the impact and may have returned home with visible injuries and muddy clothing having fled on foot across a grassy area towards Noctorum."

He continued: “Their selfish, dangerous actions have caused a local service to close and I am sure people will agree that they should be brought to justice.

“It is a miracle that no-one at the leisure centre has been hurt.”

David Armstrong, Wirral Council's acting chief executive said: "This one act of vandalism caused the evacuation and subsequent closure of Woodchurch leisure centre, and we are still working to make the area safe.

"It really is a miracle that people were not hurt or worse.

"I would advise anyone who may know who is responsible to call Merseyside Police."

The Clio had been stolen from outside a house in Southdale Road in Birkenhead overnight on Sunday, March 29.

Anyone with information should call police using the 101 number or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.