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29 January 2013, 16:34
Five men who stole railway and communications cables across 5 counties - including Buckinghamshire - have been jailed.
Blackfriars Crown Court heard how the organised gang carried out 47 attacks between 1 May and 30 August 2011, stealing railway cable and BT communication cabling.
The thieves cost Network Rail and BT almost £715,000 to replace and repair the cables as well as fines incurred to train operators as a result of delays, disruptions and cancellations caused.
Officers were first alerted to the gang in May 2011, when Network Rail reported 400 metres of cable had been cut and stolen from the line in Chelmsford.
Christopher Cruz, 33, from Mellow Purgess Close, Kris Kreuder, 36 from Elizabeth Way, Shaun Nembhard, 44, from Coopersales, John Michael Newton, 36, from Newburyside - all Basildon, Essex – and Bill Lee, 60 who is already serving a jail sentence, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal cable from the railway network.
45-year-old Simon Scott from Leeds also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal railway cable.
Cruz was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison; Scott was ordered to serve three years and six months in prison; Nembhard was sentenced to two years and three months in prison; Lee was sentenced to two years' prison, in addition to a two-and-a-half-year sentence he is already serving, and Kreuder was ordered to serve one year and four months in prison.
Sentencing for Newton was deferred until March, to take place following the conclusion of other unrelated charges currently under investigation.
Sergeant Joe McClenaghan, the investigating officer from British Transport Police, said: "These sentences show that it is simply not worth considering stealing cable from the rail network.
"After gathering intelligence on this previously unknown group over a number of months, our officers were eventually able to pinpoint the gang’s movements and arrest them in the act."