Rail bosses have pledged to continue a crackdown on thieves disrupting West Yorkshire’s rail network.
They will use new technology to protect the network from cable thieves and vowed to work with police to bring the criminals to justice.
The pledge came as a gang who targeted the rail network in Kirklees were sentenced.
Three of them were jailed and two others given community orders and suspended sentences. A sixth will be sentenced next month.
The disruption caused by the gang in Elland, Mirfield, Batley, Cooper Bridge and Dewsbury cost rail companies more than £300,000 to put right and caused massive disruption to thousands of passengers, as services were halted or delayed.
Police traced the gang to a site in Low Mill Lane, Ravensthorpe, where they burned off protective coating from the cables they had stolen.
Cornel Balaiu was jailed for 16 months, Adrian Pongori for 27 months, Gheorghe Pongori for two years and Albu Paulo Lazar was given an 18 month sentence suspended for 18 months.
An application has been submitted for all four men to be deported once their sentences have been served.
Ioan Marin Lapusan received an 18 month community order, curfew tagging for 12 weeks between 9pm and 6am and must complete 150 hours of community work.
Irfan Patel, 31, of Clement Terrace, Ravensthorpe, who help transport the group, will be sentenced on October 7.
Det Insp Glen Alderson, of British Transport Police, said: “This gang were involved in a co-ordinated and premeditated plan to target the railway in West Yorkshire to steal cable.
“Strong forensic analysis, including fingerprints from a number of items, tied all these men to the offences. This, coupled with clear evidence as a result of undercover surveillance and a thorough and detailed investigation, left the group with no option but to plead guilty to this string of offences.
“The group’s actions coast the rail industry more than £300.000 in costs and repairs, which ultimately can be passed on to the fare paying passenger.
“The irony is that it’s unlikely that the cable would have any real value to them or anyone outside the railway industry, as scrap metal dealers are highly unlikely to accept any cable. Yet the cost to the industry to replace the stolen and damaged cable is extremely high.
“Stealing railway cable is also incredibly dangerous and anyone seeking to do so risks serious injury – or even death – through electrocution.
“Technological and forensic advances are making life more and more difficult for thieves and are increasing the opportunities for police to detect criminals.
“The sentences should serve as a stark warning to others seeking to profit from stealing from the railway.”
Mark Tarry, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “We are continually developing better ways to protect the network from cable thieves and will continue to work with the British Transport Police to prosecute anyone caught carrying out such a mindless act.”