May 10, 2011 11.40 am This story is over 154 months old

Cable thefts cause 90 hours of train delays

Left waiting: A 52% rise in cable thefts across the country means that Lincoln passengers had to wait 5,447 minutes for their trains.

Lincoln rail passengers had to wait 5,447 minutes for trains because of 36 cable thefts from the railway tracks. This cost £64, 511 in compensation costs.

This has been an increase over the past three years, as in 2008/2009 there were 13 thefts of this type and in 2009/2010 there were six thefts.

Thieves take the cable in order to sell it on as scrap, with copper prices currently at an all-time high.

There was a spate of cable thefts in late 2010 which prompted Network Rail to offer a £1,000 reward to anyone who found the culprit.

Richard Lungmuss, route director at Network Rail, says that these “criminal acts have to stop.”

Mark Steward, operations and safety director for East Midlands Trains, agrees and says: “It’s unacceptable that our passengers should have to suffer disruption and inconvenience, both from petty thieves trying to make a quick few pounds and from the activity of highly organised criminal gangs.

Nationally there have been 995 incidents in over the past year, which is a 52% rise. This averages out at over six thefts a day. This has come at a cost of £16,510,663 and delays of 6,088 hours.

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.”

Source: Network Rail