Over the last few days, thieves have struck several times on the railway around Hartlebury, Worcestershire. In a separate incident, the railway between Birmingham and Nuneaton has also been targeted.
Network Rail route managing director Dyan Crowther said: Wed like to apologise to passengers for the disruption they have suffered over the last few days. We are working closely with British Transport Police to reduce cable theft on the railway and our efforts over the last few years have seen a marked drop in both the number of cable theft incidents and the resulting delays to passengers
However, when cable theft does happen, it is incredibly frustrating for our customers who are affected by the disruption. Cable theft is a serious criminal act and I would urge anyone who may have information on who may be responsible to contact the British Transport Police.
Nationally, delays caused by cable theft have reduced significantly from its peak several years ago with the improvement down to a number of factors, including British Transport Police targeting thieves and the scrap dealers buying stolen metal. Network Rail engineers are working with suppliers and other industries to make metal particularly cables harder to steal and easier to identify and are introducing new ways of working to reduce delay and fix thefts more quickly.
Chief Inspector John Pyke of British Transport Police Detective added: “The theft of cable is not just an attack on the railway it has a direct impact on the day-to-day lives of thousands of passengers with trains delayed or cancelled as a result of cable theft.
BTP has a dedicated team of officers working throughout the area to tackle this type of crime. We are also catching and prosecuting more cable thieves than ever before. However, this crime still poses a serious threat to the railway infrastructure and we will not become complacent.
We will continue to take action and focus our resources to drive this type of crime down even further but we need your help. Did you witness anything suspicious? Do you know anyone involved in the theft of cable from the railway? If so, we want to hear from you.
Anyone with information is asked to contact British Transport Police on Freefone 0800 40 50 40, or text 61016, quoting incident reference 29 of 28/08/2013.
Alternatively, information can be passed to the independent charity, Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.
British Transport Police have stepped up patrols in the Kidderminster area after a number of thefts and attempted thefts of cable over the past week. Enquiries, including visiting scrap metal dealers in the area, are ongoing.