TWO boys, aged just 11 and 12 years old, have been charged after allegedly smashing their way through an antique machinery club, damaging historical and irreplaceable possessions.
The rampage unfolded on Friday night when the pair allegedly climbed over an eight-foot boundary fence to get into the New England Antique Machinery Club’s base at the Armidale Showground.
Police believe the pair forced corrugated iron sheets apart to climb into the shed before leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
A 1958 Ford pick-up truck had its headlights and windows smashed before it was ransacked while the offenders broke the oil and fuel sump plugs off two Massey Ferguson tractors.
A 1924 International tractor had its wooden steering wheel smashed off – an item the owners have told police is irreplaceable.
But it didn’t end there, a fire extinguisher was used to smash the windows and lights of a 1958 vintage model Morris Oxford vehicle.
Much of the historical property dates back to the early 1900s and 1960s and is “mostly irreplaceable” according to the owners.
Neighbours heard the commotion and contacted a member of the club who raced to the scene and heard the damage being done.
Police set up a perimeter and surrounded the shed before an 11-year-old was arrested climbing out of the side of the wall.
A 12-year-old boy was arrested after police searched the inside of the shed.
Inspector Roger Best said both boys had been charged with a string of offences.
“It’s always very sad to see such senseless damage occasioned to items of such value to an individual,” Inspector Best said.
“These items are irreplaceable and no amount of compensation will help to repair them.”
Inspector Best said thankfully vigilant residents raised the alarm, allowing police to take immediate action.
“It reinforces the importance of members of the public contacting police when they see or hear people acting suspiciously,” he said.
Both boys have been ordered to front Armidale Children’s Court in May.