News story

Ministers welcome dramatic drop in railway cable theft

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Network Rail figures reveal 3 year low in metal theft following a clampdown

Cable theft on Britain’s railways has more than halved thanks to a co-ordinated clampdown on metal theft.

New Network Rail figures show a 67% drop in the total number of cable thefts over the past year.

There has also been a 54% reduction in disruption to passenger journeys – which equates to just over 3,000 fewer hours in delays this year compared to the previous year.

Government action

The three year low in the number of cable thefts comes after the government introduced tighter measures to thwart metal thieves including introducing a Metal Theft Taskforce (led by British Transport Police) and giving police new powers of entry to metal yards.

Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said:

The dramatic decrease in stolen railway cables shows the new metal theft laws we have put in place are starting to take effect.

These promising figures highlight how important it is for industry and government to work together to combat a crime which at its peak cost the taxpayer around £220 million a year.

Our strict new rules ban metal dealers from trading in cash, raise the financial penalty for rogue traders and grant police new powers of entry to metal yards.

Railway workers fix severed cables
Railway workers fix severed cables

Scrap Metal Dealers Act

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act will also take effect later this year and will allow local authorities to revoke metal trader licenses where they suspect unlawful activity.