THE man behind the world’s first virtual reality (VR) social enterprise has vowed to bounce back after equipment worth “several thousands” was stolen.

Devastated Billy Agnew received a call on Saturday morning to say that Viarama, based at The Mart in East Linton, had been hit by thieves.

Billy, who founded the company, said: “I immediately went to the site and saw a window at the side had been smashed.

“When I got inside, I saw all the VR kit had been stolen.”

Viarama, which has been based in East Linton for about 18 months, works with schools, nursing homes, hospices and respite centre.

People using the equipment can experience everything from diving to the bottom of the ocean to standing atop a mountain (see image inset).

Mr Agnew said the emotional response from members of the public was heart-warming and an important part of what Viarama did.

Special headsets and computer equipment were taken during the raid, which it is thought occurred between 7pm on Friday and 11am the following day.

Mr Agnew told the Courier: “It is heart-breaking – if you let it be. We have to be strong at this moment in time and respond as best we can.

“We have worked with so many people and done so much good using that equipment, the community is rallying round.”

An online appeal has been launched to try to raise money to help support Viarama, with more than £1,000 raised within a matter of hours.

Mr Agnew, 44, said: “It has been a very emotional response.

“The crowdfunding page was set up by a member of the community and it is just fabulous to experience that generosity.

“It is phenomenal and I hope that we can raise enough funds to get back up and running and do what we do as soon as possible.”

Mr Agnew thanked the police for their response, with officers investigating the theft.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “The incident happened between 7pm on Friday and 11am on Saturday, during which time a quantity of electrical items were stolen. Inquiries are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident no. 1729 of February 9.”

To support the online appeal, go to