Copper cable thieves jailed

Gavel-2

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FIVE men have been jailed following raids on railway and communications cables, which caused more than £700,000 worth of damage.

The men were sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on Monday, after pleading guilty of conspiracy to steal cable, earlier this month.

The court heard how the organised gang carried out 47 raids at various times of the day between May 1 and August 30, 2011, across five counties.

Hitchin railway was targeted for copper cable, while Kimpton was subject to BT cable theft.

Christopher Cruz, 33, of Mellow Purgess Close, Basildon, was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison, Simon Scott, 45, of no-fixed abode but from Leeds was ordered to serve three years and six months, and Shaun Nembhard, 44, of Coopersales, Basildon, was told he must serve two years and three months.

Kris Kreuder, 36, of Elizabeth Way, Basildon, was jailed for one year and four months, and Bill Lee, 60, who is already serving a jail term, was sentenced to two years.

The jail sentences come after a major investigation by a specialised British Transport Police team, who began patrolling the lines overnight and tracking the thieves’ movements.

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Investigating officer, sergeant Joe McClenaghan, said: “These sentences show it is simply not worth considering stealing cable from the rail network.

“After gathering intelligence on this previously unknown group over a number of months, our officers were eventually able to pinpoint the gang’s movements and arrest them in the act.

“We will continue to use a number of tactics to crack down on this type of crime, which is anything but victimless, and we will do everything in our power to bring them to justice.”

Dave Ward, from Network Rail, added: “We cannot 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.”

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