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National figures released by Network Rail
today reveal a £43m cost to this crime-spree over the past
three years, resulting in over 16,000 hours of delay
Yorkshire is a hot spot for criminals who target the cables
which control vital rail infrastructure such as signals and points,
causing delays to tens of thousands of trains and millions of
"Cable thieves are ruining the lives of thousands of passengers
in West Yorkshire," said Metro Chairman Cllr Chris Greaves.
"Network Rail estimates they cost the railway industry more than
£3.6 million in the last three years as they target the
railway for metal to sell as scrap.
"Locally, thousands of passengers have been affected and delayed
by more than 2,700 hours, which has a big effect on the region's
Methods used to deter and catch the thieves include:
British Transport Police (BTP) North Eastern Region
recorded 1,184 crimes and made more than 200 arrests.
DCI Derek O'Mara of British Transport Police said: "The railways
have seen significant delays and cancellations as a result of
thieves cutting and stealing signalling and power cables from the
side of the track.
"But we are working to tackle the issue and in the past few
months have seen significant jail sentences handed down to cable
thieves put before the courts.
"We are determined to send a clear message that such attacks on
our critical infrastructure are unacceptable and the police and
rail industry are working together to tackle the problem."
Gary Cooper, head of operations at the Association of Train
Operating Companies, added: "Train companies want to do all they
possibly can to reduce the number of cancellations and delays
caused by cable theft, which regularly leads to considerable
disruption for many of their passengers.
"Operators and the industry as a whole are determined to crack
down on the thieves, whose actions lead to extra work for staff and
cost of millions of pounds, money which could otherwise be invested
in improving services for passengers. The thieves are also putting
themselves at risk of serious injury.
"Train companies are working closely with Network Rail and BTP
to reduce and eventually eliminate this dangerous and disruptive
crime, but tougher measures are needed to help tackle it."
Anyone with any information about cable theft should contact
British Transport Police or Crimestoppers where they can report the
crime anonymously and could receive up to £1,000 reward if
their information leads to a conviction.
BTP can be contacted on 0800 40 50 40 and Crimestoppers on 0800