Two Ipswich cable thieves, who were caught red handed stealing cable from the railway, have been jailed for a total of 16 weeks.
Benjamin Richardson (24) of Gippeswyk Road, Ipswich, and Lewis Self (33) of no fixed abode, were both sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment after pleading guilty to theft at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, 10 April.
The court heard how on Tuesday, 22 January 2013, a member of the public spotted two men dragging lengths of cable from beside the main line in Ipswich, close to Hadleigh Road, across a fence to a nearby white van.
Police were notified and the vehicle was stopped a short distance away. After searching the van, officers found a large amount of cable. Three men – two which transpired to be Self and Richardson – were arrested at the scene of suspicion of theft.
Around 250 metres of railway cable was later identified by Network Rail as stolen from the Ipswich depot, and Richardson and Self were charged with the offence. A 33-year-old man, who was inside the van at the time of the offence, was cautioned.
Richardson and Self were each jailed for eight weeks at the town’s court last week.
The figures released this week by Network Rail show that the number of cable theft incidents affecting rail services across Anglia is down by 82%.
Network Rail has been working with partners from the rail industry as well as other infrastructure and utilities companies to tackle this crime, which caused 625 hours of delays to trains across the region in 2011/12. As a result of these efforts, delays were down to 85 hours 2011/12.
Detective Constable Matt Nolan, the investigating officer, said: “BTP is absolutely committed to tackling metal theft in the east of England and across the country, and officers continue to work with the railway industry and Home Office forces to carry out joint operations at scrap metal dealers to interrupt criminal activity. However, we are not complacent and we will continue to work to bring those who work outside the law to justice.
“I’d also like to thank the vigilant member of the public for coming forward and reporting this incident. Thanks to his alertness, officers were able to swiftly take action and intercept these thieves.
“BTP encourages people to continue to report any suspicious behaviour near the railway, or in their communities, to police so we can work together to drive this crime down further.”