DEVELOPERS of a Victorian theatre have spoken of their devastation after "senseless" vandals sprayed graffiti over restoration work just hours after it was completed.

Round-the-clock security will now monitor Brighton Hippodrome after vandals "tagged" the front of the auditorium, 24 hours after crews finished redecorating it.

Work to restore the historic venue to its former glory began after it was bought by family-run company Matsim Properties last year.

The "monumental task" of restoring the auditorium took a major step forward after The Argus revealed owners had replaced the Grade II listed building's rotting roof with a new structure.

Now, developers are moving to prosecute vandals caught spraying the site after crews spent hours "painstakingly refurbishing" the front elevation.

A Matsim Properties spokesman said: “It’s extremely depressing when, after painstakingly refurbishing and redecorating the front elevation, a tagger randomly daubs graffiti all over it by the very next day.

"So far we can't finish the decoration at street level of the front elevation because of the taggers around the town.

"We're now going to be monitoring the CCTV closely and have 24-hour security now also so will be looking to prosecute anyone caught.”

The intricately designed auditorium has played host to artists of international acclaim such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, but has worn many hats in the past.

It was built as an ice rink in 1897, but has been used as a circus and variety theatre as well as a music venue during its 123-year history.

The site fell into a state of disrepair in recent years and has been unused since 2007.

In May, the Hippodrome opened its doors to the public for the first time in over a decade, as residents were given access to initial ideas around the venue's future.

The recently added new roof means workers can now begin to repair the ceiling before removing the defective roof coverings.

The Argus: A new roof has been installed on the Hippodrome A new roof has been installed on the Hippodrome

Steelwork on the original roof had rusted through and any hope of recovering it would have caused "excessive vibration and undoubtedly brought down further if not all of the decorative ceiling", the company said.

Owner Simon Lambor, of Matsim Properties told The Argus: "We’re feeling more confident about saving the building, having installed the new roof over the Hippodrome ahead of what will no doubt be another wet winter.

"There is still a monumental task ahead of us in terms of renewing and recovering the rest of the roofs, clearance and treatment of the extensive dry rot and a full programme of repair and overhaul of the auditorium's magnificent ceiling.

"All that is before we get to start putting the building back together again."