RAIL enthusiasts are counting the cost after determined thieves broke into Canvey’s Miniature Railway Club.

The culprits attempted to get into four buildings, at the popular Somnes Avenue site, causing hundreds of pounds of damage, before smashing the roof of the signal box and stealing technical items.

Club members made the discovery when they turned up for a meeting.

They quickly spent the day making temporary repairs, but they need to re-roof two buildings and replace an emergency exit door.

Brian Pryor, committee member of the club, said: “The crooks have done a lot of damage.

“They tried to get into the ticket office, the workshop and another building before they got into the signal box through the roof.

“We know they’ve taken some technical stuff, but we’re not sure yet exactly what.

“We’ve been trying to patch things up, but they have damaged an emergency exit door and, to be honest, two of the roofs need to be redone.

“They must have had some equipment. It’s not one boywith a pen knife.

“It’s going to cost us hundreds of pounds to get it repaired properly.”

The club opens to the public, and is popular with families.

Thanks to the temporary repairs, Mr Pryor said it would be opening as normal this weekend.

He said: “It’s not like there’s anything valuable in the club so we don’t know what they were after. But we think they may have been opportunistic and there was more than one.

“The problem is the streetlights go off at midnight and it’s just total darkness. People can do what they like.

“There is some CCTV around here though so we’re going to see what we can get from that.”

It is thought the break-in happened overnight between Monday and Tuesday.