Tuesday, January 29, 2013
A GANG of cable thieves who caused enormous disruption for Suffolk rail passengers today received jail sentences totalling more than 12 years.
The six men carried out 47 raids from May to August 2011 on railway and BT communications cable.
They targeted Essex, Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, as well as London.
The line from Liverpool Street to Suffolk was among those affected.
Aside from the delays and cancellations of trains the thieves cost Network Rail and BT almost £715,000 in the replacement and the repairing of cables as well as fines incurred to train operators.
Christopher Cruz, 33, Kris Kreuder, 33, Shaun Nembhard, 44, John Michael Newton, 36, who are all from Basildon, and Bill Lee, 60, who is already serving a jail sentence, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal cable from the railway network.
Simon Scott, 45, of no fixed abode, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal railway cable.
Cruz was jailed for three years and nine months in prison by Blackfriars Crown Court.
Scott received three years and six months imprisonment; Nembhard two years and three months; Lee to two years in addition to a two-and-a-half-year sentence he is already serving, and Kreuder given one year and four months in prison.
Officers were first alerted to the gang in May 2011, when Network Rail reported 400 metres of cable had been cut and stolen from the line in Chelmsford.
A number of other incidents across the railway in the surrounding counties prompted a major investigation by specialist British Transport Police metal theft officers.
On August 30, 2011 officers arrested Cruz, Newton and Lee near Maldon Road, Margaretting, Essex, in possession of a large amount of BT cable.
These arrests, together with a detailed analysis and examination of their mobile phones, linked the three other men to the crimes.
Sentencing for Newton was deferred until March.
Simon Davies, General Manager for cable and payphone crime in BT, said: “This gang had complete disregard for the disruption caused to other peoples’ lives by their criminal activities, and it’s pleasing to see the court dealing with them in this way.”
Sergeant Joe McClenaghan, the investigating officer from British Transport Police, said: “These sentences show that it is simply not worth considering stealing cable from the rail network.