British Transport Police (BTP) has revealed that £13 million worth of metal has been stolen from railways in the past three years.
There were over 6,000 incidents of metal theft between April 2008 and October 2011. The biggest single haul that was stolen was worth £600,000 while there were several other incidents where material worth from £100,000 to £300,000 was taken from railway yards and depots.
BTP deputy chief constable Paul Crowther said: “BTP has made over 1,000 arrests for cable theft this year, and we are continuing to work with police forces across the country to tackle metal thieves, but this is a crime driven by market forces and the outlet for stolen metal is through scrap dealers.
“Our biggest challenge is that criminals can turn up at scrap yards with copper cables and walk away with thousands of pounds in cash, with scrap yards turning a blind eye to their criminality or taking metal with no questions asked. It’s easy to convert this stolen property into cash and that’s why we continue to focus our attention on dealers.”