Police are hunting a man who stole a taxi in Cleadon Sunderland before crashing it into a building, leaving it in danger of collapsing.
The building, which was left with a huge gaping hole, is at such a risk of crumbling, that it has caused the road to remain closed in both directions.
There has been no reports of any injuries and police say the occupant of the taxi involved fled the scene before they arrived.
Police are now appealing for witnesses who may be able to assist in their investigations and help track down the taxi thief.
The impact of the crash has left a significant amount of building rubble on the pavement and road. A Taxi roof sign is also present amongst the bricks.
As reported by the Shields Gazette, police say they are currently investigating the incident. A spokeswoman said the incident happened after a passenger allegedly got into an argument with the driver and drove the vehicle off after the driver got out of the car.
A description of the man they would like to speak to has been released by the police.
They said they are looking for a white man, five feet 10 inches tall, stockily built with a shaven head. He was wearing a black jacket and dark trousers.
A police spokesman said: "The church hall was hit by a vehicle at about 2am this morning and has been badly damaged.
"This was a one-vehicle accident and no-one was hurt in the incident but the building is insecure and we have closed the road subject to an inspection by structural engineers.
"The local authority have been informed and are establishing the safety of the building."
He added: "Inquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances of the collision and we would life to hear from any witnesses to the incident or drivers who may have dashcam footage.
"The road will remain closed while further inquiries and maintenance work is carried out.
"We thank people for their patience."
Anyone with information is asked to ring 101, quoting reference 64 310319 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111
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