Bench gang daylight robbery at Keighley and Worth Valley railway

Vintage Carriages Trust volunteer Mick Halcrow at the site where six benches were stolen

A still from CCTV of the suspects

First published in News by

A brazen team of thieves wearing high-visibility jackets stole seating worth hundreds of pounds from the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.

Bosses at the heritage line say they have security camera footage showing three men in a van arriving at Ingrow West Station at 7.20pm last Thursday.

They say the men removed six benches from the yard, including four from the station itself.

Michael Tarran, station safety officer and clerk of works, said five of the wood and metal benches were worth about £500 each. He said the railway has suffered from criminal activities in the past, but had never had so many benches stolen before.

He added: “The thieves took the number plate off the front of their vehicle before they entered the yard.

“They rolled up wearing high-visibility jackets, and they must have stayed for quite a while. It was still light at the time, and people obviously didn’t realise what they were up to.

“It is very frustrating to say the least. We have reported it to the police.

“The only two seats left at the station now are those bolted to the stone wall. Two of the benches were screwed to the fence on the platform, but they managed to steal those.”

Mr Tarran, who has been a K&WVR volunteer for about 16 years, said: “I know we’re not the only heritage railway to be targeted. We have brought this up before with West Yorkshire Police, but they can’t be everywhere, and just how much CCTV can you provide?

“We try our best to cover all the potential threats. We’ve alerted the Railway Gazette magazine, so if anyone tries to sell these benches people might realise they’ve been stolen from us.”

A police spokesman said officers were aware of the theft. “We’re keen to trace the driver of a white-coloured Mercedes Sprinter van, which was seen at this location,” he added.

Call the police on 101 wit information, or phone 0800 555111 to contact Crimestoppers.

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