A gang who stole cabling from rail lines disrupting maintenance work costing Network Rail more than £1 million were today (Monday) jailed at Lincoln Crown Court,
The men targeted sites across the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside where Network Rail were carrying out upgrading work to signalling.
The court was told that the gang hit sites where upgrading work was being carried out on tracks in Lincolnshire and around Nottingham Station where a major resignalling project was taking place.
Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, said “It was organised, well-planned and professional thieving.
“Over 11 months between February and December 2013 the defendants were responsible for the large-scale theft of power cables being used in these projects. Most of the thefts took place in isolated locations.
“There is a strong suggestion that at least one person with inside information, an employee within the rail network, played some part in providing information to these defendants.
“Once cabling was stolen it was stripped of its sheathing. It was a very valuable commodity. It was sold as scrap to dealers. The total cost to Network Rail was in excess of £1 million. That figures dwarfs the sums these defendants gained.”
Mr Aspden said that on one occasion the rail line between Lincoln and Spalding had to be closed for two days following a theft at Sleaford which cost Network Rail £23,000.
Replacement buses had to be brought in.
On other occasions upgrading and repair work was delayed by thefts.
The gang struck at a number of sites including Sleaford, Ancaster, Boston, Honington, Rowston, Holdingham. Market Rasen and Snelland.
Recorder Simon King, passing sentence, told them “I have no alternative but to impose immediate custodial sentences. This was organised and professional thieving. It was plainly worth your while to engage in that.”
Brian Smith, 36, of Millfield Lane Caravan Park, Doncaster; Malcolm Isaac, 42, of Thames Road, Grantham; Craig Smith , 27, of Holly Street, Lincoln; Gordon Smith , 46 , of Cedar Road, Thorne; Philip Smith ,25 , of New Park Estate, Doncaster; and Charles Smith,31 , of Eastfield Lane, Grantham; each admitted conspiracy to steal between February and December 2013.
Brian Smith also admitted a separate burglary involving the theft of £15,000 worth of nuts and bolts taken during a raid on the Tri-Pac builders’ merchants in Market Rasen.
Brian Smith was jailed for a total of four years and 10 months. Malcolm Isaac and Craig Smith were each jailed for two years and eight months. Charles Smith and Gordon Smith were each jailed for 14 months. Philip Smith was jailed for 12 months.
A seventh man Jamie Beardmore, 23, of Brunswick Street, Thurnscoe; admitted a single charge of theft of cabling in December 2013. He was given a 12 month jail sentence suspended for two years with 100 hours of unpaid work and 12 months supervision.