Thieves have broken into a railway museum and stole irreplaceable collector’s items, train equipment and tools.
The intruders got into the Rocks by Rail museum in Ashwell Road, Cottesmore, between 5.30pm on Monday and 8am on Tuesday by breaking through a fence at the back of the property and driving a vehicle onto the grounds.
The museum is a charity run by volunteers and when workers arrived there on Tuesday morning they were devastated by what they saw.
The thieves had made off with detailed models of trains and diggers from an exhibition, train equipment and hand tools, as well as a donation tin for the museum. It is not known how much money was in the collection.
They had also taken the brass cyclinder drain cocks to a 130-year-old locomotive.
Volunteers are restoring the locomotive, called Vigilant, to have it up and running by the end of the year but the museum is now going to have to pay out for new drain cocks which are vital to how the train operates.
Museum secretary Simon Layfield said: “This is a massive setback for us but we will not be defeated.
“It’s extremely dissa-pointing for us as a charity which relies on trust and support from the local community.
“I think the break-in was clearly planned and it looks like they’ve targeted copper but out of all the things they have taken the drain cocks are the most irreplaceable. It’s 130 years of heritage stolen in a couple of minutes.”
The museum has remained open for the public to visit all week. Volunteers are working on improving security
Anyone with information should call police on 101 quoting LR/911/13-9.