Model railway collectors have been reduced to tears after their lives’ work was destroyed by senseless vandals.
Devastated model railway enthusiasts were met with sheer horror when they discovered vandals had broken into their exhibition just hours before it was due to open.
The senseless incident took place ahead of the Market Deeping Model Railways Club’s annual show in Stamford, Lincolnshire.
Members of the club discovered thousands of pounds worth of damage as exhibits had been thrown around and destroyed, including a locomotive unit worth upwards of £8,500.
Peter Davies, chairman of the club, told the BBC:
I’ve never experienced anything like it. A hurricane would have done less damage.
Models that were made over years were trodden on and thrown around. It’s a total wanton destruction of the highest order.
Can you imagine your life’s work wrecked? One guy spent 25 years on his work and it’s wrecked, it’s just horrendous.
We will never have the time to build the sort of layouts again, that’s where the anger comes from.
On Sunday, four youths were arrested for burglary and criminal damage.
Police were alerted of a disturbance when nearby residents heard noise coming from Stamford Welland Academy where the exhibition was being held.
Between 500 and 600 model railway fans were expected to travel from far and wide to enjoy the exhibition, which has been running for 12 years.
Mr Davies described the incident as ‘devastating’, adding he’d never seen anything like it.
He told the Stamford Mercury:
It’s heartbreaking. There were grown men there in tears because of what had been done, and I admit I was one of them.
A JustGiving page has now been set up for the club, with an impressive £61,000 having been raised at the time of writing.
Brian Norris, secretary of the club, wrote:
Market Deeping Model Railway Club needs your help to rebuild.
We have held our annual show in Stamford for the last 12 years. Months of planning goes into the show and years of work goes into building the layout.
Imagine our horror and grief when we were greeted by this scene of absolute devastation on the morning of 18th May 2019.
Some of the models on display are irreplaceable and whilst money cannot possibly replace the hours of painstaking effort that has been so wantonly destroyed, we would ask that you make a donation, no matter how small, to help us get back on our feet. Please accept our thanks in advance.
On Sunday, police confirmed that the four youths had been released on conditional bail pending further inquiries.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.