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Police track strong-armed rail thieves

PUBLISHED: 15:37 13 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:51 03 March 2010

Thieves are being hunted today after six steel rails weighing a total of more than three tons were stolen from Manningtree railway station.

British Transport police said the tracks, each measuring 30ft in length, would have had to been removed by crane and loaded on a lorry before being driven away.

Thieves are being hunted today after six steel rails weighing a total of more than three tons were stolen from Manningtree railway station.

British Transport police said the tracks, each measuring 30ft in length, would have had to been removed by crane and loaded on a lorry before being driven away. Officers believe a vehicle such as a Hi-Ab - a combined lorry and crane, - may have been used in the raid.

"You need a crane to lift a rail," said Pc Andy Fidgett. "Men alone would not have been able to lift 30ft of rail up on to a lorry."

The theft happened in a storage area next to Manningtree station.

The BTP believe the culprits had specialist knowledge and knew what they were looking for as there were two types of rail laying beside one another.

Only the straight tracks, which would take at least six men just to lift them off the ground and are valued at around £1,620, were taken.

The twister rails – those which are placed before and after bends to stabilise trains – were left at the scene.

Pc Fidgett said the likelihood is the tracks will be sold on the thriving market for scrap.

"If you sell them for scrap we have been told you would get about £300 for the whole lot," he said. "This would suggest it may have been stealing to order."

However Pc Fidgett also warned railway preservation societies to be cautious if approached by someone they do not know offering them sections of track.

The rail raid took place sometime between 10pm last Thursday and 9am yesterday.

BTP are appealing for anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the Manningtree station area during this period to get in touch with them.

If you can help or know who the thieves are, telephone the BTP at Ipswich railway station on 01473 601978 or on their freephone hotline on 0800 405040.


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