HALLOWEEN NIGHTMARE FOR RAILWAY
Thieves spirit away £14,000 takings
AHERITAGE railway run by volunteers had £14,000 stolen after a Halloween event. Members of Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway have been left devastated after thieves made away with two days’ takings after the charity’s busiest week of the year.
Director Alex Hinshelwood said the break-in happened after a fourday special Halloween event saw 4,000 people go through its doors.
He said: “It’s a very strange situation for us to be having that sort of money anyway.
“If we took that sort of money every day we would have a contractor to pick it up but it was very much a oneoff as our treasurer wasn’t there.
“Halloween is our big moneymaking event before we shut down for the winter. Each of the 4,000 people would have been able to take a look around the place.”
Volunteers at the railway raised the alarm on Thursday morning after noticing damage to the station’s window and door.
Police are investigating the incident and are asking anyone with information to come forward.
Mr Hinshelwood said: “One of the guys started taking the lighting down and noticed the building had been broken into. The whole safe had been ripped out of the ground, they didn’t break into the safe, they took it.”
The break-in follows after a month’s preparation ahead of the railway’s four ghost train runs.
The railway director said: “We started setting up for Halloween at the end of September. For each ghost train there are 50 volunteers taking annual leave to help. The volunteers are absolutely gutted.”
Since the incident the railway has thanked the public for an “over- whelming” response. So far more than £4,600 has been raised to help the charity replace the stolen money.
Mr Hinshelwood said: “We are just absolutely overwhelmed by the response. People are digging deep and helping us out.
“We have had a continuous stream of local businesses who have offered raffle prizes and have asked what they can do to help. Everyone has rallied around. We have affiliations with railways throughout the country and have seen donations from people in Newcastle, Yorkshire, all over.
“We have lost our profits for the two days but at the end of the day noone was hurt and that’s the most important thing.”
A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said: “At approximately 10.10am on Thursday November 1, we received a report of a burglary at The Railway Station, Garn Lakes in Blaenavon.
“Sometime between 10pm on October 31 and 9.45am on November 1 entry was gained via force to a door and a silver steel safe was stolen. The safe had been bolted to the wall and the floor and had cash inside to the estimated value of £12,000 to £14,000.
“At this time inquiries are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to please call 101 quoting log 189 01/11/18 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800555111.”
The ghost train at Pontypool and Blaenavon heritage railway received 4,000 visitors over four days