CABLE valued at £20,000 has been snatched from Horsham rail depot, Nightingale Road, in what police are describing as a ‘two-day hit’.
British Transport Police (BTP) is offering a £1,000 reward for information leading to the arrests and conviction of those responsible.
Detective Constable Vanessa Cottington said: “On Monday, 12 September between 5.20 and 5.53pm, two drums of cable were stolen from the depot and on the following day Tuesday, 13 September between 8.10pm and 8.30pm, a further four drums were also taken.
“We know from our enquiries that a light coloured transit van was used on the Tuesday evening, and that a transporter-type van was used on both occasions.”
DC Cottington added that additional measures have been put in place across the county to tackle metal theft: “Cable theft is a major problem on the rail system and BTP is devoting considerable resources to combating it. We have arrested a number of people recently and the courts are handing out heavy sentences to thieves.
“Officers are clamping down and with specialised operations in key hot spots, we are arresting more people than ever before. So far we have had over 700 people arrested around the country for cable-related offences and we shall continue to have a high visibility presence to catch and deter criminals.
“We also conduct regular visits to scrap metal dealers to check any cable which may have been sold by the thieves for profit. What they don’t realise is just how little they make. Is it worth risking your life accessing the rail line or prohibited areas for £50 in your pocket?
“However, these incidents continue to occur and we are looking at new ways, particularly by making it much more difficult for thieves to dispose of stolen metal, to deal with it.
“I am appealing for anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area, or who has any information regarding this incident, to contact us.”
Robin Gisby, Network Rail managing director of network operations, said: “Cable theft is a huge issue and mindless thieves cause delays and disruption for thousands of rail passengers. It is an issue which all affected industries are committed to tackling – but we can’t do it alone.
“We need to see tougher sentences for cable thieves in the courts and the police must be given the powers they need to shut down the rogue scrap dealers who are profiting from the travelling public’s misery.”
The independent charity Crimestoppers offers a reward of up to £1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any cable thieves.
Contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40, quoting reference B9/LSA of 21/09/2011, or call the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.