A THIEF who stole a rare oil engine being restored to power the Sibsey Trader Mill sold the £7,000 item as scrap for just £170, Lincoln Crown Court was told.
Andrew Poulson took the 1950s Ruston engine and a trailer from a nearby farm where it was being stored while it was being worked on to bring it back into use.
Sam Skinner, prosecuting, said that Poulson stole the engine out of revenge against the farmer on whose land the engine was stored against whom he had a grievance.
Poulson then cut it into pieces and sold it to a scrap dealer in Grantham two months later.
The scrap dealer was suspicious of the engine and alerted police, which led to Poulson’s arrest.
Mr Skinner said the trustees of the mill spent 10 years raising the money to buy the engine, and it was not insured. They were left devastated by the theft, he added.
Poulson, 45, of Dudley Road, Grantham, admitted stealing the engine on December 6, 2011.
He was given a 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 compensation to the mill trustees.
Judge Peter Clark told him on Friday: “This was a terrible loss after all the effort that went into raising the money.
“This was a very mean offence.”
James MacDonald, defending, said Poulson had fallen out with the farmer over a business deal which had not worked out how he expected.
The solicitor added: “He considered this to be a worthless piece of metal and decided to sell it for scrap.”