Cable theft and a broken down train cause rush hour commuter chaos
London's rush hour commuters were subjected to major disruption today after thieves stole more than 100 metres of cable from a line of Hertfordshire.
The 25,000 volt cable was cut and stolen overnight, bringing morning peak-time services into Liverpool Street station to a standstill.
Detective Inspector Terry Pearce, of British Transport Police's dedicated cable theft team, said: "Theft of cable can, and does, cause significant delays and cancellations to the rail industry - as well as costing the industry millions of pounds each year.
"What thieves don't realise is that they're attempting to steal cable carrying up to 25,000 volts. Not only are they risking a court appearance, they're also risking their lives."
The theft was reported after a train driver happened to spot the length of cable was missing. Hertford Branch Line services were fully suspended while repairs were carried out.
Once services resumed, commuters heading into the capital were hit by further delays after a train broke down in Chelmsford. Disruption lasted throughout the morning peak.
British Transport Police are working with National Rail and a host of government agencies on a series of UK-wide raids on scrap metal merchants in a bid to catch cable thieves.
Recent figures revealed a near seven-fold increase in cable theft and related incidents on Tube lines, and a three-and-a-half-fold rise across the UK mainline rail network.
Bob Crow, leader of The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, said: "Yet again rail services are disrupted due to the continuing scourge of cable theft."
He repeated his demands for profits from the rail operators to be diverted "into providing the staffing and security levels required to stop this lethal criminality on the tracks."
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Acclaim for retired Australian defence chief Angus Houston who is leading the search for the airliner
South Korea ferry: Four dead and almost 300 missing as mass rescue gets underway
Malaysia Airlines MH370 co-pilot's phone 'was on and made contact with network tower' 30 minutes after plane turned around
Oscar Pistorius trial: Reeva Steenkamp told athlete she 'loved him' for first time in Valentine's Day card
Lunar eclipse 2014: Images of the spectacular 'blood moon'
David Cameron: 'Jesus invented the Big Society – I'm just continuing God's work'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for auction...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 3 Naked yoga: the bare truth - it's already big in the US, and has now landed here
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline bribed doctors to boost sales, says whistleblower