CABLE thieves are risking their lives for a low-profit crime.
That is the warning from British Transport Police who say they want to drive home to would-be culprits there is little cash to be made.
Detective Inspector Mick Jackson said: “The simple truth is that cable thieves do not make huge amounts of money from the metal they are able to steal.
“In fact, when you consider the risks thieves take to steal the cable, it simply isn’t worth the effort.
“Anyone who seeks to steal railway cable risks serious injury – or even death – through electrocution and, because of where the cable is situated, faces the prospect of being struck by a train.
“While thieves may think they will get good money for stolen metal because of the increased price of copper, the truth is that unscrupulous scrap metal dealers will not pass on that increase to the thieves.
“Historically thieves will only get a fraction of the value of the metal they take while it is the few recyclers prepared to ignore the law who reap the benefits when they sell the metal on.
“Thankfully, the number of metal recyclers willing to take in dodgy metal is small – with the vast majority of businesses in the industry happy to work with police to put an end to the trade in stolen metal.
“Those who continue to buy and sell stolen metal are on our radar and they can look forward to many future visits from British Transport Police and our colleagues in other police forces.”
The number of railway cable thefts is on the rise, say the force. Just this week a theft in Leeds caused disruptions for commuters.
Dyan Crowther, director of operational services at Network Rail, said: “Our industry is under attack from metal thieves.
“Every day hundreds of passengers and essential freight deliveries are disrupted and delayed.
“We are doing all we can to protect the network, including funding extra British Transport Police officers, using CCTV, forensic marking techniques and other technology. Despite that, crimes continue to increase.
“We believe the only way to reduce metal crime is to take away the illegal market and that more robust legislation and police powers are needed.”