Railway cable thieves jailed after early-morning attack on track

Three men who stole 80 metres of cable from a railway line between Barnsley and Huddersfield have been jailed for 15 months each.

John Boy Shaw, 33, Raymond Walker, 47, and Christopher Davies, 28, all of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to cable theft.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that the trio were responsible for stealing the cable from two locations in the early hours of February 9.

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The cost to the publicly-owned track maintenance firm Network Rail in compensation to train companies and repairs was estimated at more than £9,400.

The court heard that Network Rail reported a signal failure in the area to British Transport Police (BTP) at 3.12am. Officers attended and a search of the area led them to the three men, who were discovered burning cable off West Road, Pogmoor, Barnsley.

All three initially denied the theft but later changed their pleas to guilty when faced with the overwhelming evidence put before them.

Pc Mark Holberry, of BTP, said: “These three men targeted the railway to steal cable.

“Theft of cable from the railway is not only costly, but also has a devastating impact on the community.

“Cable theft causes massive disruption to both rail passengers and freight lines.”

He added: “I hope these results also send a clear message to thieves who may still attempt to target our railway – we are on the case and will do everything in our power to catch you and bring you to justice.”

Phil Verster, from Network Rail, said: “This sentence sends a strong message to anybody thinking about stealing cable from the railway.

“I cannot over-emphasise just how serious these crimes are.

“Cable thieves deny passengers the service they rightly expect and, through the massive cost to the industry, deny everyone improvements to rail services.”

Mr Verster added: “We are doing everything that we can to protect the railway and will continue to work closely with British Transport Police and other rail partners to do everything in our power to deter thieves and bring those 
who attack our network to justice.”