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26 June 2015, 06:00
A Northampton cable thief, who was caught after leaving his van at the scene of the crime, has been jailed for a year, after a Transport Police investigation.
Brian Chapman, 47, of St Leonards Road, Northampton was sentenced to 54 weeks.
At an earlier hearing the court was told Chapman and two accomplices, Adam Furnell, 23, of Cowper Road, Wellingborough, and Aaron Adamson, 22, of Mackworth Green, Wellingborough, had cut cable on a stretch of railway track in Steeple Claydon, Buckinghamshire, on the evening of Wednesday, 27 November, 2013.
The trio had intended to steal the cable, but fled the scene when they saw lights, which they believed to be police cars, in the distance.
The court heard officers arrived to find various types of cable piled up close to the line. They also discovered an axe sealed with insulating tape and an abandoned Ford van.
The van, which checks revealed belonged to Chapman, contained tools. Chapman reported his van stolen the following day, the court was told, but when questioned denied ever having visited Steeple Claydon.
DNA checks on the axe handle and spit on the railway line proved to be a match for Furnell and Adamson, and they were arrested in March 2014.
The court was told analysis of Furnell’s phone revealed he had been in regular contact with Chapman, both before and after the offence.
Chapman continued to deny any link to the offence, and, when Furnell and Adamson were charged with theft, Chapman was issued with a summons which he failed to attend.
He was subsequently arrested and charged with theft and perverting the course of justice in October 2014.
All three men pleaded guilty to theft in court. Chapman also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing.
He failed to appear for sentencing on Thursday, 11 June, and, on Wednesday, 24 June, was sentenced to 20 weeks for theft, 32 weeks for perverting the course of justice and two weeks for failing to appear for sentencing, to be served consecutively.
Following sentencing Detective Constable Matthew Nolan said:
"Cable theft is not a victimless crime. It compromises the safety of those who work and travel on the rail network, causes delays and thousands of pounds worth of damage. I would like to thank those officers whose swift observations and actions secured vital evidence leading to the identification of suspects.”
I hope Chapman uses his time in prison to reflect on the seriousness of his actions."