Five suspected railway cable thieves have been arrested in dawn raids in Leeds by officers tackling cable and metal theft.
The suspected thieves - all men, aged 16, 18, 22, 26 and 42 - were arrested under suspicion of conspiracy to steal railway cable, by British Transport Police following raids on two houses this morning in the Osmondthorpe area of the city.
The arrested men were taken to custody while forensic officers searched the premises and surrounding areas.
Detective Sergeant Mick Dawes, of British Transport Police’s dedicated Operation Leopard team, said: “These arrests form part of ongoing work we are undertaking with Network Rail and local police forces to tackle this crime, work which is having a great effect.
“As part of our efforts to trace those responsible for cable theft we visit scrap yards in the area as most cable thieves look for the quickest way to sell on the stolen goods – scrap yards are one such method.
He added: “We work closely with scrap yard owners to monitor any cable which is brought in and, with assistance from railway and telecoms experts, can quickly identify stolen cable.
“The theft of cable has a direct impact on the everyday lives of the travelling public; it really is an attack on the community. The act of stealing cable is also an extremely dangerous crime which is costly to the rail industry and to the thousands of passengers who rely on the rail network.”
Network Rail, working in partnership with the charity Crimestoppers, is offering a reward of up to £1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any cable thieves.
Anyone with information about cable theft can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or anyone with information about cable theft should contact British Transport Police on 0800 405040.