Ruddington’s Great Central Railway (Nottingham) is appealing for your help to catch those responsible for a relentless campaign of thefts and mindless acts of vandalism at the much loved, village tourist attraction.
Director Phil Stanway reveals that, over the past six to eight weeks, their site has been subjected to an ongoing and concerted spate of theft and vandalism attacks – involving multiple break ins to vehicles and buildings and deliberate damage on a large scale. All along the railway, which operates 10 miles from the base at Ruddington, through East Leake to Loughborough Junction, GCRN has suffered thefts of materials which volunteers use to maintain and develop the railway. In addition there have been several instances of vandalism and graffiti which have used up valuable time and funds to remedy.
However, yesterday evening (Monday 29th April) saw one of the worst attacks so far – this time causing damage estimated to be in the region of £80,000 to several of its heritage rail vehicles and carriages. Phil says: “At around 5.45pm last night, six teenage boys entered our site and smashed a total of 112 windows on various items of coaching stock and two diesel railcars. At least one of the coaches has been damaged to the point that is likely to be beyond economic repair and will end up being scrapped. We are appealing for information on the culprits who were disturbed and made off from the site at around 6.15pm. After being given chase by the police they were unfortunately lost sight of somewhere within the Mere Way Business Park.”
Information is being sought on six teenagers aged between 14 and 16 who were wearing black and grey tracksuit/hooded tops with one carrying a distinctive red satchel/shoulder type bag. Some of the teenagers were on bikes. GCRN is offering a reward of £1000 to any individual who provides the Police with information which leads to the successful identification and conviction of those involved in this latest incident. The vandalism follows other recent criminal and antisocial activity along nearby Asher Lane, when the access gates to the private section of the road were closed and locked to try to prevent it.
Phil adds: “As an entirely volunteer based museum and visitor attraction, with no paid staff and no external funding, this is heartbreaking for all those volunteers who have put their time, effort and money into the various projects here at Ruddington. It is damage that we can ill afford to repair and – in the case of at least one vehicle – and maybe more when a full inspection is complete – certainly cannot afford to replace.”
Some of the coaches attacked last night were scheduled to operate this Bank Holiday Saturday on GCRN’s trains to Loughborough Junction. This service is now in jeopardy – although railway volunteers are said to be working flat out to try to fix the damage to the required carriages in time.
Rushcliffe Police Inspector Craig Berry told RUDDINGTON.info: “I am appalled to hear of the extensive criminal damage to the train carriages at GCRN on 29th April. I want to reassure the public we will do everything we can to identify the suspects and bring them to justice for the causing this mindless criminal damage. Media coverage has brought about a number of potential witnesses who we are in process of speaking to. In addition, there was potential evidence recovered from the scene itself and we are undertaking an extensive CCTV trawl.”
He added: “Officers will be in Ruddington conducting those enquiries and reassurance patrols over the next few days. I would ask for help from any further potential witnesses – and for CCTV footage that may have captured the suspects in the immediate area.”
If you do have any information that may assist their ongoing enquiries, you’re asked to contact Nottinghamshire Police quoting Incident Number 765-29042019. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
PLEASE ALSO SEE OUR UPDATE ABOUT THE TWO ARRESTS MADE AND A NEW GCRN FUNDRAISING PAGE >>HERE<<. Thanks.