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What we’re doing to beat the thieves ... and how you can help
Cable theft costs us more than £19m each year. The total cost to the country, taking into account the impact of freight delays to power stations, supermarkets etc and on passengers, is far higher.
The theft of metal is a big problem for the rail network 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 stop. 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 want your ideas for tackling cable theft and have outlined our main challenges and priorities:
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 believe full legislation reform is needed to help restrict the market in stolen metal.
We supported the private member's Bill introduced by Richard Ottaway MP to regulate scrap metal dealers. The Bill was passed in February 2013 and the act will become enforceable in autumn 2013.
The Home Office are issuing guidance to councils, police, the legal services and all those involved with the implementation of the Act.
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.
Anti-cable theft campaign poster