Auction attempt is foiled by trustees

NRHNBE120327c1, Alan Calladine next to the burnt out coach, Midland railway centre, Butterley.

NRHNBE120327c1, Alan Calladine next to the burnt out coach, Midland railway centre, Butterley.

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A railway enthusiast has been kicked out of the Midland Railway Trust for trying to sell an item stolen from its Butterley base on eBay.

The former trust member, who police have not named, took the manufacturers’ plate from a 1930s Mercury tractor adapted for the railways and attempted to auction it online.

But despite only attracting at top bid of £1.30, the sale item was recognised by other trustees browsing the site and the man was reported to management at Midland Railway Butterley, it has been revealed.

Police were informed on June 7, and the man has now been dealt with using restorative justice, which avoids the need for court proceedings, but still see the person making amends for their actions.

Development officer for the trust Alan Calladine said any abuse of its property was taken ‘very seriously’.

He said: “It was fortunate that our members noticed this item and we are pleased to see it returned to its rightful place. It is a salutary lesson that this individual will have a police record for something that was only attracting a bid of £1.30.”

The offending member is to send a written apology to the Midland Railway Centre and has had his membership stripped, police said.

Mr Calladine said makers’ plates from famous locomotives can fetch high prices on the online auction site.

“I assume they must have thought it was worth a bit of money,” he said. “But this is just not collectable. It’s just a thin piece of metal that says ‘built by Mercury Tractors’.”

Mr Calladine issued a warning to anyone else thinking of selling trust items on Ebay, as it now has around 2,000 members. He said: “Lucky for us we have eyes and ears everywhere.”