East London duo jailed for metal theft from railway
A pair of thieves who stole £12,000 worth of cable belonging to Network Rail have been sent to prison.
Gintaras Viktus, 40, of no fixed abode, and Alvynas Lazauskas, 53, of Meath Road in Stratford, were sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on Thursday.
The duo were caught by British Transport Police officers stripping reams of the cable under railway arches next to Carr Street and Repton Street in Limehouse on December 7.
They also had three drums of cable waiting to be stripped. They were all identified as stolen from the railway group.
Despite being caught red-handed they denied the charges of theft.
Viktus was given 18 months in jail, while Lazauskas was ordered to serve 12 months, after being found guilty by a majority jury verdict.
Detective Inspector Nick Brook, part of the British Transport Police investigating team, said: "Viktus and Lazauskas were caught red-handed with reams of cable, giving no excuse other than they were stripping it for cash. Their not guilty plea did not weigh up."
Det Insp Brook added the sentences sent a message to all those who take part in cable theft, said to cost the railway industry nearly £20million each year.
He said officers were patrolling on foot, in vehicles and with police dogs, to catch and deter criminals.
"Stealing railway cable is incredibly dangerous, and anyone seeking to do so risks serious injury - or even death - through electrocution, all for a significantly small profit," he said.
"Additionally, it affects every single train passenger because services can be ground to a halt when cable is taken.
"We're clamping down on metal thieves, and with our increased use of technology and specialist operations in key hotspots, we're arresting and prosecuting more metal thieves than ever before."