Light-fingered train buff stole four locomotives

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PILFERING employees are usually content to take items that slip into a pocket or handbag. Barry Daly stole four locomotives, 30 wagons and nine coaches.

As it turned out, the job was a cinch. Daly ran shunting operations at Crewe station, Britain's busiest rail interchange, so he just moved the redundant stock into sidings.

Daly, 43, pleaded guilty to the the thefts at Chester Crown Court yesterday, and also admitted stealing nearly pounds 44,000 from two railway collectors, including Pete Waterman, the pop music impresario.

Known by children near his home in Crewe as the Fat Controller, after the "Thomas the Tank Engine" character, Daly carried out the thefts between January 1996 and January 1998. He will sentenced later this month.

Most of the money was stolen from the Waterman Railways Heritage Trust, which renovates 1950s and 1960s trains and where Daly worked as a volunteer. Mr Waterman said the trust began to suspect something had gone awry when stock for which it had paid more than pounds 40,000 failed to materialise. "We were mortified when we found out that this stuff wasn't his to sell," he said.