A HERITAGE locomotive number plate (above) was stolen from the Mornington Railway Preservation Society’s depot at Moorooduc in an early morning burglary last week.
Doors and fences were damaged in the raid which was captured on CCTV, 4am, Saturday 16 May.
“We were lucky that they didn’t steal more items,” society secretary Robert Reed said.
“One of our volunteers just happened to be on site and ran in to them and they fled.”
Mr Reed said the thieves were preparing to use a wheelie bin to remove valuable engineering equipment and machinery from a storage shed when they were interrupted.
The society’s president Andrew Swaine said it was “extremely disappointing the [thieves] targeted a volunteer organisation”.
“The Mornington railway is a self-funded community organisation and, like other groups, our revenue has been severely impacted due the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“The incident could not have come at a worse time. It was a lowly attack on our volunteers and the many people who love our railway.”
The stolen number plate was from locomotive W241. Heritage plates are highly valued by collectors but have little value as scrap.
Anyone trying to sell or dispose of the plates can be reported to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.