Boys sentenced for trashing Stamford model railway show

image copyrightMarket Deeping Model Railway Club
image captionThe model railway exhibits were damaged at a school

The parents of three teenagers who deliberately trashed a model railway exhibition worth £30,000 have been ordered to pay compensation.

The Market Deeping Model Railway Club display was damaged at Welland Academy in Stamford, Lincolnshire, on 18 May.

The boys, and a fourth defendant, shared a bottle of vodka as part of a "pre-exam night out" before going on a "rampage", a court heard.

Lincoln Youth Court heard the youths had deliberately pushed tables over.

The four 16-year-old boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted criminal damage.

Three of them were handed 12-month referral orders and their parents were also ordered to pay £500 in compensation.

A fourth boy was told he would be sentenced on 2 September.

image copyrightMarket Deeping Model Railway Club
image captionSome of the exhibits were worth thousands of pounds

The court heard the teenagers had decided to play football in the gym and continued despite displays being destroyed.

They also threw parts of displays at the wall.

After police were called due to the school's alarm system, the teenagers were found in the toilets and arrested.

Members of the Market Deeping Model Railway Club said a "life's work" had been destroyed with some displays taking years to complete.

More than £107,000, including a £10,000 donation from model rail enthusiast Sir Rod Stewart, has been raised in a crowdfunding appeal to repair the exhibitions.

Sentencing the boys, chairman of the bench of magistrates John Lock said: "In nearly 20 years on the bench, I cannot recall such a case as this, of mindless, wanton destruction. It beggars belief.

"You came across the displays and models... and not content with kicking a ball, you then went on a rampage."

image copyrightMarket Deeping Model Railway Club
image captionMore than £107,000 has been pledged for the club

Peter Davies, chairman of the Market Deeping Model Railway club, said he was glad due process had been followed but it was "right they [the teenagers] make the best use of their future".

"We have to allow them to make a second start, although I don't condone the damage, it was horrific," he said.

Charitable trust

The "enormous" amount of money raised would go to a charitable trust that is in the process of being set up, Mr Davies revealed.

One of its objectives will be to establish youth projects.

"By October we could see 60 young people involved in modelling projects they would never have done before," he said.

Prosecutor Shelley Wilson said the four boys had made admissions in interviews about the damage.

One model railway enthusiast from St Neots Model Railway Club, John Kneeshaw, who contributed to the exhibition, had suffered £15,000 of damage, the court heard.

One of the boys' defence solicitors said they were "in drink", which may have "impaired their judgment".

The court heard the youths had apologised for their behaviour, while their parents said they were "ashamed" and "disappointed".

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