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Railway metal thefts in Yorkshire have cost �280k

Network Rail has revealed that thefts of signalling cables, other electric wires and metal equipment from the railway in South Yorkshire, including areas such as Rotherham, Sheffield and Aldwarke, have cost taxpayers over £280,000 since April 2021.

Trains have been delayed by a total of 89 hours over the last year, because the thefts often cause widespread disruption. The number of offences has risen in the past month as the price of copper went up, with incidents being reported daily in the first week of April. Cash trades for scrap metal are illegal and subject to unlimited fines.

Network Rail said it is working with British Transport Police to use new ways of catching thieves. Learning from successful prosecutions, teams are stepping up patrols and using real time surveillance techniques in hotspot areas.

Network Rail area customer services and performance manager Olga Barannikova said: ‘The impact of railway cable theft mustn’t be underestimated. Not only does it waste taxpayers’ money and frustratingly make passengers late, but it also holds up the delivery of important freight supplies and takes key railway staff away from their work.

‘We’re constantly finding new, clever ways to catch offenders, and I know that this new push with the BTP will help us to hammer home that criminal behaviour – trespass, vandalism and theft – will not be tolerated.’

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