RAILWAY thefts have brought massive disruption to train services in West Yorkshire, it was revealed today.
Thieves targeting railway cable in the region have caused 775 hours of delay to services in the past year, costing the industry more than £700,000 in compensation costs alone.
Today Network Rail called for communities to support them in stopping the thieves and preventing further disruption.
Only last week, services between Huddersfield and Leeds were badly disrupted because thieves stole copper cables from alongside the tracks near Batley.
Richard Lungmuss, route director for Network Rail, said: “The theft of cable is a constant drain on our resources and cause of considerable disruption to rail services. ŠThis is not acceptable. We are already carrying out considerable work to deter thieves and to respond to incidents quickly to minimise delay. Today I am calling on local people to act as our eyes and ears and to report suspicious activities to Crimestoppers – they could receive up to £1,000 reward.”
Network Rail has traced a direct link between the price of copper and the number of cable crimes committed. ŠThey are working with the police and other organisations affected by metal crime to target the market for illegally obtained scrap metal.
Working with British Transport Police, Network Rail has invested in new types of surveillance equipment and measures to make the cable more difficult to steal such as CCTV and trembler devices that set off an alarm when cables are disturbed and burying cable.
Det Insp Brian Buddo, from British Transport Police, said: “After the threat of terrorism, the theft of cable still remains one of BTP’s biggest challenges. We have made some real inroads in driving down cable crime throughout Yorkshire, and have witnessed a 12% reduction in the number of offences across the area. This has been achieved through a partnership approach to tackling the issues, proactive policing and great work in arresting and bringing cable thieves to justice.
“Although this reduction is great news it is making us more determined and committed to reducing the number of crimes, and tracking down the criminals who target the railway by constantly looking for ways to stay one step ahead.”