A REWARD is being offered after 420ft of live cable was stolen from the railway line in Oakham.
Thieves took the copper cable between 9.30pm on Saturday, June 4, and Monday, June 6, but British Transport Police have only just released the details.
It happened close to the A606 rail bridge on the bypass in Oakham.
Since the theft, transport police have stepped up patrols in the area.
Sgt Mark Rushin, from the transport police based at Leicester, said it was an “extremely dangerous crime”.
He said: “This could have caused serious injuries to the attackers.
“During the process, 140yds of live cable was cut and stolen from the line. We believe that due to the sheer volume of cable that was stolen, there may have been a group of people, and a vehicle involved to transport the cable away from the crime scene.”
Fortunately there were no delays to commuters because it wasn’t signalling cabling stolen.
Sgt Rushin said transport police was now working with scrap yards in the area incase the stolen cable was offered for sale.
He said: “We work closely with scrap yard owners to monitor any cable which is brought in and, with assistance from railway and telecoms experts, can quickly identify stolen cable.”
Network Rail, working in partnership with the charity Crimestoppers, is offering a reward of up to £1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any cable thieves.
It comes as British Transport Police announced cable thefts had risen 70 per cent in the last year, despite an overall decrease of 2.9 per cent in crime on the railways. It said there were 2,712 cable thefts in 2010/11 compared with 1,593 in the previous 12 months.
Last week, James Sorby, 22, from Leeds, was in the news after being badly injured in a 21,000 volt shock from a live power line, while trying to steal cabling from a power sub-station.
Anyone with information on the Oakham theft should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or British Transport Police on 0800 405040, quoting reference number B8/NEA of June 8.