Cable theft on the railway affecting services is down 67%

Posted: 15 April 2013 | | No comments yet

Tackling metal theft in an effective manner is embedded across police forces and together with the BTP…

Cable Theft

The improvement is down to a number of factors including BTP targeting thieves and the scrap metal dealers, our engineers making the cable harder to steal, and new ways of working to fix the problems caused by thefts more quickly.

Years of work to tackle cable theft on the railway has resulted in a reduction of delays to train services from over 6,000 hours a year at the peak of the thefts, to 2,700 hours in 2012/13.

Rail minister Norman Baker

“The coalition Government is strongly committed to tackling metal theft and it is heartening to see that the decisive action that has been taken is now paying off with major reductions in this kind of crime.

Government intervention in this area has included £5m of funding for a task force to crackdown on metal and cable thieves along with the introduction of a ban on cash payments by scrap metal dealers, significantly increasing the fines for all offences under the existing Scrap Metal Dealers Act and providing police officers with sufficient powers of entry to tackle illegal trading in metal yards.”


It is illegal to sell scrap metal for cash – this legislation was introduced in December 2012 – and a public national register of scrap metal dealers will be created to help make sure that sales of scrap metal are accounted for and that all people trading scrap are doing so legitimately.

The new Scrap Metal Dealers Act due to come into force in Autumn 2013, will help break the trade in stolen metal, and the rail industry and police will continue to work together to make metal harder to steal and sell on. The introduction of new laws following our work with other industries to explain the need for change to government, will help stifle the market for stolen metal.

Preventing cable theft

Tackling metal theft in an effective manner is embedded across police forces and together with the BTP, Network Rail and the rest of the rail industry will continue to develop initiatives and tactics to make life even more challenging for thieves and unscrupulous metal recyclers.

Read about what Network Rail are doing to tackle cable theft and how you can help.

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