Cops are hunting heartless thieves who raided a Scots vintage railway attraction stealing tools and causing thousands in damage.

Volunteers at the Royal Deeside Railway Preservation Society near Banchory, Aberdeenshire are counting the cost after finding the historic railway carriages had been broken into on Sunday.

High end tools were stolen from the site with bosses now aiming to raise £3,000 to repair the damage and replace the tools.

The tourist attraction has been closed for most of the last 13 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A window was smashed

It offers short journeys in a vintage train with a Victorian station and tea room.

Chairman James West told the Record: "The railway volunteers are saddened by this theft, especially as they are working hard to get the Royal Deeside Railway back open to fare paying passengers."

The railway posted on Facebook: "A rather sad day #theft

Damage was caused

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"The volunteers arrived at the Royal Deeside Railway this morning to find that the GUV carriage and one of the Class 03 diesels had been broken into.

"This was further compounded when the team realised that the railways Husqvarna rail saw and some other tools had been stolen.

Power tools were also taken

""The volunteers are now appealing for any dash cam footage from vehicles that may have been passing West Lodge in the past week, in particular between ten in the evening and six in the morning. If you do have any information please message this page?"

An appeal through the railway's website added: "The railway regrets to advise that to add to the financial difficulties the railway is having to manage as a result of Covid-19, we have now been victim of thieves breaking into work vehicles parked at West Lodge and stealing power tools.

"The break-in was discovered on Sunday 18th April with windows being found broken in one of the diesel locos and a work wagon. One item stolen was a battery powered reciprocating saw and another a husquvarna rail saw.

"The railway is now looking to raise £3,000 to replace the items taken which are essential to further work supporting bringing the new platform into service, and also to replace the laminated windows that were smashed in the break-in. All donations will be gratefully received."

Online locals blasted the callous thieves.

One man wrote: "Very disappointing to hear this has happened let's hope they are caught."

A Police Scotland spokesperson said : "Officers received a report of a break-on at Deeside Railway Preservation at 8.50am on Sunday, 18 April, 2021.

"A quantity of tools were stolen and property damaged. Anyone with any information is asked to contact 101 quoting 0979 of Sunday, 18 April."

To donate to the appeal click here.