A THIEF cost Network Rail £324,000-worth of damages by stealing just 121 metres of cable from rail lines around Rugby and Coventry.
Wayne Griffin, 26, of Augusta Place, Leamington, endangered countless lives by disrupting signalling equipment and in doing so delayed 425 trains and cancelled 43 others. He was jailed for 20 months last week after pleading guilty to four charges of theft, which involved stealing live sections of copper cable belonging to signalling systems.
Marianne O’Connor, of Network Rail, said the bill would be picked up by the tax payer.
Jamie Strong, defending, said: “When Mr Griffin saw the figure of what was involved, he was gobsmacked. This is not an enterprise he has engaged in previously,”
Prosecutor Iain Willis said that on July 29 last year police officers, who happened to be filling their car with petrol at 5.25am, saw a vehicle on the garage forecourt suspected of being involved in thefts of copper cable. In the rear of the van were a number of rolls of copper cable and tools used to cut and strip it.
Griffin was arrested and claimed he had found the cable, but in fact it had been stolen from next to the railway track at Finwood Road, Lapworth. Other cable was stolen from track in Coventry and near Stretton-under-Fosse.
Recorder Richard Bond told Griffin: “Copper cabling is vital to the running of the national rail network. It provides power to vital safety and signalling systems, and if those systems are disrupted, it is plain passengers’ lives can be endangered.
“As a result of trains being delayed and cancelled, compensation has to be paid to train operators who lose business because of what you have done by selfishly stealing cable. The money spent repairing this takes money away from improving the rail network.”