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Unique model took owner five years to build from scratch

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A retired engineer from Kingsbury has been left devastated after a miniature steam railway engine which took him five years to build and is worth £12,000 was stolen from his garden shed.

The dark green 70004 Britannia Class, which belonged to pensioner William Stellar, was stolen overnight between Saturday and Sunday from his home in Wood Lane.

The coal-fired engine, a fully working model, has the words William Shakespeare in gold lettering along the side.

The 85-year-old, who worked as an engineer for ITN, said he was devastated. He said: “I couldn’t believe the cheek of it when I saw that it had gone and I still don’t understand how they got in.”

Mr Stellar, who is recovering from a cataract operation, regularly took the engine to the Harrow and Wembley Society of Model Engineers Club, of which he is a member.

The club, in Roxbourne Park, Ruislip, offers miniature train rides.

Mr Stellar said said: “I love talking to the children at the club and explaining how it works and answering their questions.”

The model has been Mr Stellar’s pride and joy since the 1970s. He said: “It’s not just about the finished product. I love making them too. It is my life. People often see me with it outside my house and ask questions.

“I love people showing an interest but maybe I showed it to the wrong people. I don’t know if I will ever get it back.”

Anyone who has information about the engine should called PC Daniela Biagini or DS Tony Bellis 020 8733 3227. Alternatively, if you would like to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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