'Total destruction': UK youths vandalise model railway exhibition worth thousands

Four youths were arrested for criminal damage after vandalising an exhibition.
Four youths were arrested for criminal damage after vandalising an exhibition. Photo credit: AAP Photos/Market Deeping Model Railway Club.

A group of vandals have ransacked a model railway exhibition in the English town of Stamford, destroying years of work and thousands of pounds worth of model railways exhibits.

The act of "total wanton destruction" took place on Saturday 18 May (local time) at the Welland Academy in Stamford. The exhibition had been set up for viewers on Sunday. 

The chairman of Market Deeping Model Railway Club, 70-year-old Peter Davies, told BBC that exhibits were smashed, thrown, and trampled on. The vandals also trashed a locomotive unit allegedly worth £8,500 (NZ$16,583).

BBC reports that four youths were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and burglary.

The damage was done to exhibits worth thousands of pounds and took years of work.
The damage was done to exhibits worth thousands of pounds and took years of work. Photo credit: AAP Photos/Market Deeping Model Railway Club.

In a matter of hours, a fundraising JustGiving page for the club raised more than £32,000 (NZ$62,431).

The page says: "Some of the models are irreplaceable and whilst money cannot 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."

A recent donator from the US said: "As the daughter of an avid model builder, my heart goes out to you all."

As of Tuesday, the fundraising page has raised more than NZ$156,221.

Davies told BBC that club members were "devastated and distraught".

"Can you imagine your life's work wrecked? One guy spent 25 years on his work and it's wrecked, it's just horrendous."

Davies said the club has received worldwide support, even "as far away as New Zealand".

Singing icon Sir Rod Stewart reportedly donated £10,000 (NZ$19,527) to the club on their JustGiving fundraising page.

Lincolnshire Police reported the youths were released Saturday evening (local time) on conditional bail. Police are awaiting further inquiries.

Newshub.

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