Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Rail Chiefs Vow to Track Down Matro Cable Thieves; Task Force Set Up to Halt Thefts from Lines

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Rail Chiefs Vow to Track Down Matro Cable Thieves; Task Force Set Up to Halt Thefts from Lines

Article excerpt

Byline: SONIA SHARMA

A TASK force has been set up to curb the spate of cable thefts from Metro lines.

Nexus, which manages the network, has put the group together after criminals targeted the system six times in 11 days.

The vandalism caused widespread disruption for passengers and cost thousands of pounds in repairs and replacement bus services.

The latest incident happened in Percy Main, North Tyneside, yesterday morning. Trains between Whitley Bay and Wallsend had to be suspended and commuters suffered rush-hour delays.

Nexus officials held their first meeting of the task force yesterday afternoon with senior officers from Northumbria Police.

A package of measures is now being explored to help reduce the number of incidents of stolen cable.

The plans could include improved security for trackside areas, extra CCTV cameras and sensors that could give a warning as soon as cables are tampered with.

Meanwhile, Nexus staff are being vigilant during the night, when engineering work is taking place on the track.

The company is also liaising with police to target cable theft hotspots. Steps have already been taken to mark equipment with Smartwater so any stolen items can be identified.

Ken Mackay, director of rail and infrastructure for Nexus, said: "We are determined to stamp out cable theft on the Metro system. We now have a task group in place to completely review the issue and see how we can reduce it.

"The last 10 days have seen a high number of incidents. Cables have been cut and this has led to Metro service disruption. We very much apologise for the delays. We are looking into ways of preventing this type of crime, this includes improved security systems and extra policing.

"Cable theft is a problem for the entire UK rail industry. It is a headache for passengers. The thieves take big risks to steal the cables as they could be electrocuted." Metro has also launched an email, text and Twitter alert system so passengers can get the latest information when they travel. People can sign up for this through www.nexus.org.uk In addition, there is a pounds 1,000 reward through Crimestoppers for information leading to the conviction of thieves. …

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