Scrap metal thieves steal £50K of train parts

A spokesperson for the Great Central Railway has asked for local scrap dealers and merchants to keep their eyes out for copper piping, expansion links, and steam boiler valves that were stolen from the Loughborough train depot this weekend.

The 1946 Boscastle steam engine was undergoing major restoration work when parts specifically designed for the 76-year-old train were taken after thieves broke into a storage container housing the parts in the early hours of the morning on Saturday 2nd July.

The parts have been valued at approximately £50,000 and the GCR spokesperson expressed sadness at the theft, considering how much time went into fabricating the bespoke parts, and how this will affect the dedicated restoration team. They have even offered a reward for the safe recovery of the parts considering their high value.

Interest in preserving historic locomotives of British heritage has been increasing. For nearly twenty years the Boscastle has been undergoing an extensive second restoration to get it back to working order and a specialist contractor has been managing the highly complex engineering work. Since 2012, the reassembling process has been underway – with a focus on the copper pipework, cylinders, and lubrication system.

Scrap metal, especially quality copper piping, can be highly lucrative – making it a particular target for thieves looking to cash in. Train lines are at risk of theft, with metal infrastructure, including cables, making a popular target. These thefts cause considerable disruption to the railway – with trespassing on the tracks posing a major safety risk, serious delays to passengers, and a substantial cost to taxpayers.

Scrap dealers must be vigilant to avoid buying stolen scrap. Last year, catalytic converter theft skyrocketed as the value of precious metals contained within them began to soar as the market recovered following the COVID pandemic. This is why it is a legal requirement for metal merchants to take ID when buying scrap and why they can no longer trade scrap metal for cash. This allows merchants to protect themselves and keep track of scrap metal sales when making purchases, which can help to identify any criminals.

Note: If you have any information regarding the Leicestershire robbery – contact police, quoting reference 22*380041.

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