Men jailed for cable theft

Two men who admitted stealing 25 metres of railway cable in Nottinghamshire, have been jailed for a total 6 years, following an investigation by British Transport Police (BTP).

Damien Anthony Kelham, aged 25 from Castle Gate, Newark, and Billy Richard Mitchell, aged 28 from Appleton Gate, Newark both appeared at Nottingham Crown Court today, Thursday 3 February 2011.

Mitchell was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment after pleading guilty to two counts of theft of railway cable. Kelham received 3 years imprisonment, after pleading guilty to theft.

British Transport Police were informed of a signal failure in the Crankley Point area of Newark on the Nottingham to Lincoln line at around 14.00 on Friday 8 October 2010, a previous theft has also occurred in the same area earlier in the day.

Officers immediately attended the scene and conducted an area search with the assistance of a police helicopter. Mitchell and Kelham were tracked down by police dogs, and arrested on a track some distance away from the scene.

A number of tools including hacksaws were also recovered from the scene.

Both men were charged on Saturday, 9 October and remanded in custody until they appeared in court today ( Thursday 3rd Feb).

The theft caused 36 trains to be fully or partially cancelled and 115 trains delayed totaling over 1647 minutes (27hours) to travelling passengers. Costs to the industry in repairs and delays totaled over £75,000.

Acting Detective Inspector Granville Sellers, who is heading BTP’s attack on cable thieves in the region, 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 not the case.

“Theft of cable can, and does, cause significant delays and cancellations to the rail industry – as well as costing the industry millions of pounds each year.

“Important services can also see disruption as a knock on effect, as key individuals, such as doctors, are left stranded on stationary trains.

"Stealing railway cable is also incredibly dangerous. Not only does it present severe dangers to those who trespass on the line, who are putting their lives at risk, it also causes real headaches for passengers in terms of delays or disruptions to services."

“I hope that other cable thieves will take note of the length of sentence that has been imposed by the court in this case and realise that cable-related crime can have harsh judicial penalties.”