Would-be thieves left a £5,000 trail of damage through South Devon Railway’s Buckfastleigh base as they smashed windows, kicked in doors and ransacked offices.
The intruders, who are thought to have gone on a rampage through the steam line station after they failed to find anything worth stealing, eventually got away with a pair of two-way radios, a security monitor, a box of plasters and a bar of chocolate.
The raiders made an unsuccessful attempt to break into the railway station’s main safe, which was empty anyway, revealed a railway spokesman.
‘Even if these pathetic thieves had been able to get into our very strong and main security safe using thermal lances,’ he said, ‘they would have left empty handed because there was no cash in it, so it looks as if they decided to trash the place instead.
‘Other than the chocolate bar, security camera monitor and two-way radios, the only other things we think they got away with was all of the plasters in a first-aid box, so maybe someone cut themselves in the act.
‘They won’t be able to use the radios because they are, of course, band specific to the SDR and so won’t operate within the normal commercial bandwidths. It could be argued quite cogently that some of our important safety-critical equipment has been stolen.’
The raid took place overnight on Thursday, January 19, with the intruders smashing windows to get into the main booking office before accessing all the station rooms.
On the same night thieves caused £300 worth of damage attempting to break in to the Buckfastleigh Rangers Social Club by smashing locks on three separate doors.
At the railway station they also broke into a train and targeted the buffet car, which was empty of any cash or stock. They smashed five windows in the train carriages, one dating back to the 1930s, and three at the station. The doors they kicked in were original Great Western Railway station doors and will probably have to be replaced.
The rail group will have to replace a booking office ticket rack and cabinet padlocks, which were all smashed as the raiders ransacked the offices.
The spokesman said: ‘It’s all very sad for us, of course, as it not only costs time and money to carry out these unnecessary repairs, but also it distresses
our dedicated staff and hard-working volunteers, all of whom find it abhorrent that our charity has been targeted by mindless thieves and vandals.
‘It’s the second time in less than 12 months that we’ve suffered such an attack at Buckfastleigh.
‘The last time, in March 2016, local woman Kirsty Emmin launched her Just Giving fundraising appeal, which raised some £500, passing Kirsty’s initial target to help offset the £400 cost of damage caused back then to the SDR by vandals, who broke into a buffet coach to steal goods and who also damaged the interior.
‘We have some CCTV footage of the intruders, which has been shown to, and given to, the police.
‘Thankfully, the police do have some fingerprints and boot prints.
‘Anyone with information about this latest attack should ring the police on 101, quoting crime reference CR/004646/17.’
The police have said they
are investigating to see if the railway station raid is linked with the attempted break-in at the football club premises.