A man has been jailed forÂ 2 yearsÂ after being found guilty of stealing cable from the railway line in Spondon, Derby following an investigation by British Transport Police (BTP).
Andrew Keith Martin (40) of Towpath Way, Spondon was sentenced to two years imprisonment at Derby Crown Court on Friday, 18 July after being found guilty of cable theft and going equipped to steal.
The court heard how officers from British Transport Policeâ€™s dedicated cable team, Operation Leopard, were alerted of a signal failure on the line near to Megaloughton Lane in Spondon by Network Rail in the early hours on Wednesday, 17 September 2013. The area had been a cable theft â€˜hotspotâ€™ for a while due to number of other thefts in the vicinity.
Officers arrived at the scene at 4.20am, eight minutes after being alerted, and silently approached the area.
Martin was discovered next to the track wearing a camouflage jacket and, significantly, with dirty hands. He claimed he had headed down to the area to investigate after seeing torches.
A police dog searched the area but there was no trace of anyone else.
Officers discovered three signalling cables in the area had been cut and approximately 80 metres of cable had been removed from the track and had been coiled up ready to be stolen.
Martin was arrested and taking to Derby police station where we was searched and found in possession of three small cutting tools.
When interviewed he initially claimed he had been carrying them as he had been undertaking plumbing work for a friend, a claim that was denied by his friend. He also stated he had never visited a scrap metal dealer, which wasÂ also proven not to be the case as checks at a nearby SMD showed evidence of Martin previously weighing in metals.
Martin was re-interviewed and offered no comment when he was challenged about his dishonesty.
He was found guilty at Derby Crown Court on 27 June 2014.
The theft caused over 253 minutes delay to the rail network in the Spondon area and cost the rail industry more than Â£16,600 in compensation and repairs,
Operation Leopard PC Mark Horberry said: “There is a common assumption that cable theft is a victimless crime, with the only effects being felt by the railway industry. This is just not the case. Theft of cable can have a huge impact on the running of the rail network and thousands of passengers are inconvenienced by it every year.
â€œStealing railway cable is incredibly dangerous. Thieves risk not only a prison sentence but also serious injury and death through electrocution.
â€œWe have a team of dedicated officers who work 24 hours a day to tackle the theft of cable from our railways. The railway also has a network of alarms which notify us and Network Rail when cable is being tampered with or stolen. In this case our officers were notified and responded within minutes capturing Martin in the act.â€
â€œWe hope that this case sends a strong message out to any would be thieves that the risk of being put behind bars or in a box is simply not worth it.â€
Phil Verster, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: â€œThrough close working with BTP we have significantly reduced the cost and delay suffered by passengers at the hands of cable thieves. Despite this some individuals continue to target our railway for their own gain. This prosecution sends a clear message that we will protect our network and the service we give passengers to the full extent of the law. We are determined to make sure that cable theft from the railway is a crime which does not pay.â€