Two men have been jailed after admitting stealing cables worth thousands of pounds from the railway line near Wakefield.
Christopher Jones, 36, of Arncliffe Road, in Eastmoor, was jailed for 21 months at Leeds Crown Court.
Lee Grandidge, 27, also of Arncliffe Road, was jailed for 16 months after the hearing on Monday, July 15.
The court heard the pair weighed in more than 1,000 kilos of stolen copper cabling, taken from the railway line, at scrap metal dealers during a five month period.
Speaking afterwards, Det Insp Stuart Mellish, of British Transport Police, said: “Grandidge and Jones persistently targeted the railway in the Wakefield area on a number of occasions, stealing cable to obtain money to feed their drugs habit. They began by stealing redundant cable before risking their lives by moving to live cable that was being used for signalling along the tracks.
“There is a common assumption that cable theft is a victimless crime, with the only effects being felt by the railway industry. This is not the case. Theft of cable can have a huge impact on the running of the rail network and thousands of passengers are inconvenienced by it every year.
“Stealing railway cable is incredibly dangerous. Thieves risk not only a prison sentence but also serious injury and death through electrocution.”
The pair were caught by DNA evidence in January this year.
Phil Verster, Network Rail route managing director, said: “The delay caused by these crimes costs us all millions of pounds every year through missed appointments and delayed freight deliveries. This is unacceptable. We are protecting our network better than ever using security patrols, CCTV and forensic marking. This case shows that, working with the British Transport Police, we will find the thieves, bring them to court and seek the toughest penalties We are grateful the court has recognised the seriousness of this crime in passing this sentence.”