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Two arrested after Metro services were disrupted by cable thieves

Metal thieves caused disruption on the Metro line at the weekend
Metal thieves caused disruption on the Metro line at the weekend

Metal thieves caused a £25,000 repair bill after cable was stolen from tracks during the Bank Holiday Weekend.

Two people have since been arrested by police in connection with the theft - which forced train services to be suspended between Pelaw and South Shields for a number of hours on Monday.

Whenever the Metro grinds to a halt it effects the local economy

Stephen Hepburn MP

It was the second time in weeks Metro lines were hit by thieves dicing with death in order to steal cable. There is currently a 31,000 reward for information leading to a conviction of those responsible.

Hebburn and Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn has quizzed Minister of State for Transport, Jo Johnson MP and Minister of State for the Home Department, Nick Hurd MP, over what they are doing to combat the crime which causes chaos for commuters.

Mr Hepburn said: “Whenever the Metro grinds to a halt it has a major effect on the local economy and on local people who rely on the service. Because of cable theft, people are made late for work, miss appointments and are put off from using the Metro.

“It appears that in our region the problem is most severe so I’m pleased to be pressing the Government to act and tackle this issue as a matter of urgency.”

Managing Director of Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, said: “The cost of the stolen metal is almost worthless but the cost of carrying out the repairs in this particular case was £25,000, not including the cost in terms of the disruption to the public and the lost fare revenue.

“Nexus played a part in lobbing for new legislation that restricts the sales of stolen metals in scrap yards, and we have seen a huge reduction in cable theft since 2013 as a result. However, these offences have started to re-occur in recent months.

“We are working closely with Northumbria Police and the British Transport Police.”

Sergeant Tim Hand, of Northumbria Police’s Metro Unit, said: “Whenever we receive reports of cable theft from the Metro network we will liaise with local scrapyards to try and identify the offenders.

“We do have powers under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, however, offenders will routinely strip the cable down to bare copper before taking it to the scrapyard.

“Scrapyard owners have been very co-operative with police investigations and this has led to positive results in the past. We will continue to work with them to help make it as difficult as possible for offenders to benefit from this type of crime.”

Two people arrested following the theft of cable from Metro lines in Hebburn in the early hours of May 28 have since been released under investigation pending further inquiries.

Anyone with information about those responsible for the recent thefts are encouraged to contact police on 101 quoting log 242 28/05/18