Posted: 19.05.19 at 08:40 by The Editor
Four youths arrested yesterday after vandals 'completely trashed' model railway layouts set up for an exhibition at Stamford's Welland Academy have been released on conditional bail pending further enquiries.
The vandal attacked happened in the early hours of the morning and meant Market Deeping Model Railway Club had to cancel yesterday's hugely-popular event.
But the 'hurtful' incident has failed to dampened members' spirits and the club will honour its commitments to forthcoming events and next year's annual event will going ahead as planned.
Bill Sowerby, Market Deeping Model Railway Club exhibition manager, told Stamford Nub News: "I arrived at 7.30am to be met by one of our members who told me the terrible news.
"Four of the layouts were completely trashed - two of our club's, one privately owned and one from St Neots club.
"Four demonstrator stands and one for Bourne U3A stall, which would have raised funds for their organisation, was also smashed.
"Fortunately five other layouts in another room were undamaged and we had nine more left to install early this morning.
"It's really hurtful for us all, not just because of the thousands of pounds we have lost in income - we were expecting between 400 and 500 visitors - and have paid out a lot of money to put on what is the club's main fundraising event. Demonstrators and trade stands have also lost income.
"But it's also the time and effort that members put into building the layouts. The St Neots layout took 25 years to construct and our Woodcroft layout took 26 years and involved more than 100 people over those years spending thousands of hours.
"Woodcroft will be repaired, but it's so sad because a large number of the people who dedicated their time to build it are no longer with us. It has real sentimental importance to the club.
"Although our Knowl End - a children's layout - was completely destroyed."
The Woodcroft layout was due to be displayed as part of Deepings Literary Festival next weekend, but the club will provide an alternative and members will start preparing this on Monday morning.
Market Deeping Model Railway Club's annual exhibition has been staged every year for more than two decades and this would have been the twelfth at the Green Lane school.
Planning the event takes more than 18 months and Mr Sowerby confirmed preparations for next year are already at an advanced stage.
"We have received a great deal of support from the model railway community including other clubs, demonstrators and traders since they found out about the vandalism. Bourne U3A has already offered us premises if we need to stage an event," added Mr Sowerby.
A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said yesterday: "About 3.50am today we were alerted by a local resident that noises had been heard coming from the school and a short time later, whilst we were on our way to the call, the alarm at the school activated.
"On arrival at the school we arrested four youths who were on the premises for burglary and criminal damage and they are in custody at Grantham."
A further police statement said the four had been 'released on conditional bail pending further enquiries' last night.
Photos courtesy of Market Deeping Model Railway Club