VOLUNTEERS at a popular Cumbrian tourist attraction were left furious after it was targeted by mindless vandals.

The South Tynedale Railway in Alston had its signage along the South Tyne Trail smashed last weekend.

A Facebook post by the railway said: "Very sad to report vandalism at the railway and up in town too.

"Signage smashed along the South Tyne Trail. Very demoralising for the volunteers who are doing a brilliant job of looking after the site and trying to make sure everything is ready for when we can open again.

"Police informed and we will be checking our CCTV."

Cumbria Police confirmed officers were looking into the incident. A spokeswoman for the force said: "Police are investigating a report of criminal damage that occurred between 13th and 14th February, at South Tynedale Railway, Alston

"It was reported that the information board and a handle to a carriage have been damaged.

"Anyone with information should contact PC 2225 or PC 2279 on 101, quoting incident number 133 of 15 February."

The attraction is a preserved heritage railway and is England's highest narrow gauge line, running from Alston to Slaggyford in Northumberland via Gliderdale, Kirkhaugh and Lintley.

It was forced to close last March due to the coronavirus crisis and announced it faced an uncertain future when it entered administration.

However, it was saved by a successful grant application in October by the South Tynedale Railway Presentation Society, which saw it receive £84,300.

The railway is also one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a financial boost from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund for heritage.

Ian Millward, who is on the board at the railway, said it the damage was disappointing - but it would take more to stop the team in their tracks.

He said: "It's petty and infuriating, but it's small. It won't stop us, we will keep going.

"It's not going to cost us a lot to put a few things right. Hopefully, it won't happen again."

Ian added that the railway is currently searching for new volunteers for a number of roles.

He continued: "We're still on the look-out for new volunteers. We're going to need them when we get going. People who want to come and learn to drive the engines, people who want to talk to the public - everybody is welcome."