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What we’re doing to beat the thieves ... and how you can help
Cable theft costs us millions of pounds each year. The total cost to the economy, taking into account the impact of freight delays to power stations, supermarkets etc and on passengers who miss appointments or have their day ruined, is even higher.
The theft of metal is a big problem for the railway as thieves target signalling cables, overhead power lines and even metal fences to sell for scrap.
Britain's rail network is designed to fail safe, which means that when a cable is cut trains are brought to a standstill. This protects passengers but can lead to lengthy, frustrating delays while the problem is found and fixed safely.
A large proportion of our funding comes from the Government, so these thefts are, ultimately, costing taxpayers money.
You can help by reporting suspicious behaviour on the tracks to the British Transport Police:
We have done a huge amount of work to tackle cable theft including:
The majority of metal recycling businesses operate within the law, but we firmly believed that full legislation reform was needed to help restrict the market in stolen metal.
We have supported the Scrap Metal Dealers Act throughout its legislative journey, culminating in its enforcement from October 2013.
The key features of the Act are:
This will help make sure that sales of scrap metal are accounted for and that all people trading scrap are doing so legitimately.