CABLE thieves caused £82,000 worth of damage to a railway track leading to massive disruption and delays for more than 100 trains.
British Transport Police (BTP) have launched a major investigation after cable was stolen from the East Coast Main Line close to Bradford Road in Wrenthorpe.
It happened during the early hours of Friday morning and caused massive disruption for rail commuters.
Det Sgt Granville Seller, of BTP’s cable and metal theft team Operation Leopard, said: “Cuts were made to the line and 55 metres of signalling cable was taken at around 2.45am. Officers attended and discovered cable had been removed.
“Some of the cable was later discovered burned and dumped close to Fox Lane.
“In total it is estimated to have cost the rail industry £82,000 in repair costs and compensation to train operating companies who use that stretch of track.”
Operation Leopard was launched in 2009 to tackle the growing numbers of cable and metal thefts.
BTP officers regularly carry out patrols in known hot spots around Wakefield to catch thieves.
Chief Insp Derek O’Mara said: “Officers also conduct regular visits to scrap metal dealers to check any cable which may have been sold by the thieves for profit. What they don’t realise is just how little they make. Is it worth risking your life accessing the rail line for £50 in your pocket?”
Network Rail reported that the theft, combined with two others on the same railway line on the same night, caused almost 17 hours worth of delays for passengers.
A reward of up to £1,000 would be available to anyone who has information which leads to a conviction.
Call BTP on 0800 405040 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.