Criminals are targeting the cables which control vital rail infrastructure such as signals and points, causing delays to tens of thousands of trains and millions of people.
Figures released by Network Rail in May reveal a £43 million cost to this crime-spree over the past three years, resulting in over 16,000 hours of delay.In 2010/11:
Methods used to deter and catch the thieves include:
- £16.5 million was lost through cable theft
- Nearly 1000 individual attacks on essential rail systems – a 52 per cent jump on the previous year
- Passenger services delayed by more than 6000 hours
- BTP recorded 3000 crimes
- BTP made more than 900 arrests
- Dedicated BTP task force, increased patrols, intelligence led policing. Priority second only to terrorism
- Network Rail has recently funded extra, dedicated officers
- Partnership working with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)
- National intelligence cell with members from BTP, Network Rail and soon external non-rail partners
- Use of the Network Rail helicopter, CCTV, forensic marking, trembler alarms and other devices to protect the cable
- Fast response teams to get trains on the move as quickly as possible
- Introduction of new type of cable that is easier to identify and harder to steal
- Use of approved scrap yards for disposals of used materials.