Stolen locomotives found

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MEMBERS of an engineering society are delighted after two steam locomotives stolen from them last month were found.

Members of the Melton Mowbray and District Model Engineering Society were pleased to hear that the dark blue 7.25-inch gauge Hunslet 0-4-0 quarry locomotive, called Lilla and dark green 5 to 7.25in dual gauge battery electric 0-4-0 Simplicity locomotive were found at a property in Louth, Lincolnshire.

The locomotives worth about £9,500 had been stolen from the society in Melton Road, Whissendine, sometime between September 15 and September 17.

A member of the public came forward and identified the locomotives after seeing an article about the theft in a model engineering magazine.

A 29-year-old man was arrested in Grantham on Saturday and appeared in Grantham Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with handling stolen goods.

He was remanded on bail but another court date has not yet been set.

Society chairman Norman Smedley said: “It means a tremendous amount to the society.

“We had given up hope of finding them as soon as it happened. We assumed that if they were to be sold it would be abroad and we’d never see them again.

“Honestly we thought that with the price of scrap metal as it is they would have been broken up and sold.”

Lilla in particular had sentimental value for the society because it was bequeathed to the society by the family of the late Charlie Hudson, from Preston, who died eight years ago. He had built the locomotive himself.

Both locomotives have been returned with slight damage and the society is now working hard to put them back together again.

Lilla had scratched paintwork from where it had been dragged across the concrete car park and loaded onto a lorry when it was stolen.

The chimney had also been broken and Mr Smedley believes it must have fallen over in transit.

Simplicity had scratches from being moved in a wheel barrow when it was stolen.

A strimmer which was also stolen at the time has not been found.

Mr Smedley said: “The Melton Mowbray and District Model Engineering Society owes a great debt of gratitude to the police and their informants; to the publishers of Engineering in Miniature and Model Engineering as well as the Mercury for bringing the information to a much wider audience.

“This just goes to show what a sympathetic, understanding and helpful hobby we are all part of and that sooner or later justice prevails.”