Cable thefts hit London's rail and Tube services

By Rob Virtue on June 6, 2011 12:58 PM |


A dramatic rise in the number of cable thefts has hit DLR and Underground services over the last year.

British Transport Police said figures for crime overall were down but instances of stolen railway property saw a huge increase, while robbery and fraud were also up.

Theft of metal cable is said to have increased by about 70 per cent nationwide in the last year, with incidents on the Tube and DLR at 602, nearly 200 more than the 12 months previous.

Speaking on the release of the annual figures on Monday morning, BTP Chief Constable Andy Trotter said said as well as the financial loss caused by cable thefts, the incidents are also impacting on services.

"Cable theft is a real challenge for us, the rail industry and other utilities," he said. "The record price of metals on world markets has made this type of crime seem increasingly attractive, although the actual returns to the thieves are pretty modest.

"Metal theft causes significant disruption to rail services and that means real consequences for real people - missed business meetings, family celebrations and appointments for instance.

"And that's not to mention the huge financial costs to the rail industry and the dangers to the thieves themselves."

Overall crime on the DLR and Tube has dropped by seven per cent in the year up to the end of March with a reduction in incidents of over a thousand.

Violence against people, sex offences, criminal damage, theft of passenger property, public disorder and drugs offences have all seen declines.

However, as well as the rise in railway property theft - which including the cable is up 48 per cent for the DLR and Tube networks - there was also a 10 per cent increase in fraud and a 17 per cent rise in robbery.

Ch Con Trotter said: "The continued reduction in crime is very good news, but economics is having its effect.

"We know that during difficult economic times acquisitive crime is likely to increase, and these figures show that."

BTP said the drop in crime on Britain's railways represents the seventh successive annual decrease.