CABLE thieves are costing the railways millions, according to new figures.
Network Rail say crime has forced them to shell out £3.6million in West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire over the last three years.
And that period has seen passengers in the same area delayed by more than 2,700 hours
Railway bosses say Yorkshire is a hot spot for thieves taking the cables which control vital rail infrastructure such as signals and point.
Richard Lungmuss, route director for Network Rail, said: “These criminal acts have to stop. Every day passengers and essential freight deliveries upon which our economy relies are being delayed by thieves looking to make a quick buck at our expense.
“Since the start of the new financial year we have had a further 16 attacks in North and West Yorkshire, causing more than 91 hours delay and costing a further £81,000.
“I cannot over-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.
“We are doing everything we can to protect the railway and will continue to work closely with British Transport Police and other rail partners to do everything in our power to deter thieves and bring those who attack our network to justice.”
Methods used to deter and catch the thieves include partnership working with the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the introduction of new type of cable that is easier to identify and harder to steal.
Detective Chief Inspector Derek O’Mara from British Transport Police, said: “We are determined to send a clear message that such attacks on our critical infrastructure are unacceptable.”