CABLE thieves who caused more than three-and-half hours of rail service delays have been blasted as ‘selfish’ and ‘parasitic’.
Passengers on 13 Arriva Trains Wales services on the Holyhead line between Chester and Flint were delayed on Thursday morning after 55m of cable was stolen the previous night.
Crooks targeted a section of the railway track between Saltney Junction and Rockcliffe Hall at 10.49pm on Wednesday.
Network Rail engineers replaced the cable overnight, completing the work by 6.20am.
However, services did not return to normal until 7.15am having caused a combined total of 213 minutes of delays.
Detective Inspector Mark Cleland says cable thieves put lives, including their own, in serious danger.
He said: “When you consider that thieves are only likely to receive a minimal amount of cash for this stolen cable – that’s if they are able to sell it at all – it really isn’t worth the risk.
“Individuals who steal from the railway are nothing but parasitic opportunists, who prey on law-abiding taxpayers.
“They are organised and selfish, and they need to be stopped before innocent people are killed by their greed.”
DI Cleland added: “My message to these thieves is simple. If you are foolish enough to risk your own life to fund your lifestyle, we will do everything in our power to find you, to arrest you and make full use of the law to ensure you will not be in a position to commit offences for many years to come.”
A British Transport Police spokesman said: “Patrols are currently being conducted and visits are also being made to scrap metal dealers, who are assisting officers with their enquiries.
“We continue to work closely with Network Rail as part of our investigation into this incident.”
If you have any information about the thefts, call British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40, quoting reference 602 of November 14. Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.