Larrad horizontal mill engine Image credit: Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History (

Mill Engine stolen from Totnes Museum

Patrick Steel, 08.08.2018
Police are searching for engine worth £10,000
Devon Police are searching for thieves who stole a Larrad horizontal mill engine worth £10,000 from Totnes Museum last month.

It is not known how the thieves removed the engine, but it is thought that the theft took place at a weekend, when the museum’s administrator was off. The theft went unnoticed until the following Tuesday, when the administrator returned to work.

Designed by Jack Larrad at the turn of the last century, the engine weighs around 25kg. 

James Bellchambers, a volunteer at the museum, told Museums Journal: “It is likely that, when the museum was locked up in the middle of the afternoon, the felon remained hiding behind one of the doors or under a bed.

“The engine weighs nearly a hundredweight and would have needed at least two people to carry it down the spiral staircase.“

The museum is staffed by around six volunteers and one paid administrator who works four days a week from 10am to 4pm.

Museums Journal understands that the museum’s CCTV system was not working, but that auction houses, museums and steam fairs were alerted after the engine was discovered missing.

The engine is clearly marked with the word "Totnes", and the museum is hopeful that it may be found or returned.