Boss of Peterborough's Railworld Wildlife Haven vows 'we will not let vandals win' after yobs strike at attraction for 211th time

“They are not going to win. We are not going to let them win”

By Stephen Briggs
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 11:05 am

Volunteers at a much loved community garden in Peterborough have vowed not to let yobs win - after the site was forced to close due to vandalism at the weekend.

The Railworld Wildlife Haven in Woodston had doors broken, windows smashed and tools stolen when vandals broke in on Saturday night.

Today, Brian Pearce, who runs the site, said: "They are not going to win. We are not going to let them win.

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Brian Pearce at Railworld, which was hit by vandals - again - over the weekend

"So many people have given so much time to make this what it is. I don't want that time to go to waste.

"We want people to see what you can do with a derelict site. We have brought life to it, we have brought biodiversity to it."

‘We don’t want the site to become like Fort Knox’

Brian, who was awarded an MBE for work at Railworld, said the last break in was just three weeks ago, and there had been scores of occasions crooks had hit the site.

He said: "When I walked in on Sunday morning, I just thought 'not again,' It was only three weeks ago when we had the last break in.

"There was glass everywhere, damage to doors and windows, window frames taken out.

"I don't know how much it will cost to put it right.

"We've beefed up security, we've put extra cameras up, we've got the special identifying dye on items.

"Police are doing extra patrols in the area.

"But we don't want the site to become like Fort Knox.

"I don't know what to do next."

The attraction has now been closed until further notice while repairs are made.

‘This was by far the worst amount of damage’

Paul Sewell, a volunteer at the site said he was heartbroken by what happened.

He said; "Yesterday when preparing to open up I was confronted with a sight I hope never to see again, the north side of the river was completely trashed broken windows, doors utter carnage good knows what was stolen which will probably cost tens of thousands to put right.

"I have been a volunteer here for over five years now and this is not the first time I have encountered break ins, but this was by far the worst the amount of damage. It was staggering and very upsetting.

"A group of us worked non-stop yesterday until about 7pm securing the site the best we could, finding even more damage on the way.

"I do a 50 mile round trip to volunteer here doing jobs from maintenance, making models for garden railway, running the ticket office/ cafe and much more.

"It is a lovely place to visit and great to see people enjoying themselves, A great asset for Peterborough which sadly I think may be lost.

"I am now asking myself if it is worth my time and effort. I love the place but these break ins are too upsetting and for me have taken the shine off the place."

For more information about Railworld visit https://www.railworld.org.uk/