Last weekend, the Southsea Model Village was trashed in the worst spate of vandalism the repeatedly targeted spot has seen. This was followed by a second break-in on Monday evening.
Now the three teenagers responsible for the second incident have been made to apologise to the owner and volunteer at the attraction in Portsmouth, Hampshire, after their mothers recognised them from CCTV images circulated on social media.
Owner Mark Wilson said: “We had three of the young lads came down to do some voluntary work and the police have spoken to them. They were a group of young lads – 13 or 14 years old – who broke in the second time. Their mums brought them down during the week.
“They were so embarrassed about what had happened. They said they opened Facebook and saw their sons’ pictures plastered all over it from the break-in. They were mortified that they had to bring their sons down.”
The teenagers said they trespassed out of “boredom”, according to Mr Wilson, who put them to work on Sunday.
The 47-year-old, who has run the attraction for more than five years, said: “They have been sweeping up the paths and carrying out some basic labouring tasks. The police also attended the village to speak to the teenagers.”
CCTV images showed the first group damaging railway tracks, throwing figures across the site and smashing tiny windows last Sunday.
Mr Wilson said this cost the business more than £500 in broken figurines and £1,200 in ruined model railway tracks.
Several people have now come forward with information, and Mr Wilson said: “They’re the ones we really want to get.”
In Portsmouth, the community has rallied round the tourist venue, raising more than £8,500 on a GoFundMe page in less than a week. As a result, more than 10 new cameras, which record in 4K quality and have automatic motion tracking, have been installed.
In 2019, the parents of three teenagers who trashed a model railway exhibition in Lincolnshire were ordered to pay compensation for the damage.
The Market Deeping Model Railway Club display at Welland Academy in Stamford was ruined after the teenagers went on a “rampage” as part of a “pre-exam night out”, Lincoln Youth Court was told.
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