Frampton-on-Severn cable theft gang from Cardiff face jail

A seven man gang from south Wales who risked their lives to steal £150,000 worth of live cable will all be going to jail, a judge has warned.

The cables had been taken from 33,000 volt electricity pylons in a Gloucestershire field.

On Friday Vijay Chohan, 24, and his brother Umar, 26, from Cardiff, were convicted of conspiring to steal the cable at Gloucester Crown Court.

Five other men had all pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

The Chohan brothers, from Ely in Cardiff, had denied their parts in the offence but were convicted by a jury.

The five other men are all from Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan.

Judge William Hart bailed the Chohan brothers for pre-sentence reports but told them that they and all their fellow offenders will be going to prison and the only question is how long.

He adjourned sentencing of all seven men to a date to be fixed.

Start Quote

This theft required a determined and professional approach”

End Quote Mark Worsley Prosecuting counsel

The theft of cable belonging to Western Power Distribution took place at Netherhills farm in Frampton-on-Severn, Gloucestershire.

Prosecuting barrister Mark Worsley told the jury: "On the night of September 16 and the early hours of the following morning copper cable worth some £150,000 was stolen from electricity pylons near Frampton-on-Severn.

"Those responsible scaled the high voltage pylons - 33,000 volts - and cut through live copper conductors at both ends of the cable.

"The copper cable rolled up for onward sale measured some 7,000 metres and was disposed of in the Cardiff area.

'Suspicions'

"This theft required a determined and professional approach."

The men were caught after a police sergeant on patrol in the area became suspicious after speaking to the occupants of a Ford Transit van and a Ford Fiesta car who told him they had been rabbiting.

"When the cable theft was discovered, the three individuals who PS Irvin had spoken to were obvious suspects," the court was told.

The barrister added telephone numbers relating to ABM Salvage in Argyll Way, Cardiff - a business run by Umar Chohan - were found on the defendants' mobile phones.

Police visited the premises and Umar Chohan told them that he had stopped dealing in scrap metal and was now a vehicle repair shop.

But while officers were still there a man called and delivered scrap metal, "so suspicions were further aroused," said Mr Worsley.

Subsequent analysis of the two defendants' mobile phones revealed several calls on the night of the crime to other defendants who had already admitted their involvement.

"The Chohan brothers were right up there with everybody else," said the barrister.

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