England

Five men jailed for Rugby rail thefts worth £1.5m

Neil Jones, Paul Tandon and Stuart Amphlett (left to right)
Image caption Neil Jones, Paul Tandon and Stuart Amphlett were jailed at Birmingham Crown Court

Five men have been jailed after stealing railway track worth up to £1.5m.

Two men from the West Midlands, one from Buckinghamshire, one from Cheshire and one from Manchester were convicted at Birmingham Crown Court.

The court heard the group had looked to exploit upgrade work being carried out by Network Rail on the West Coast Mainline in Rugby, Warwickshire.

Two other men were also given suspended sentences for their involvement.

British Transport Police (BTP) said the actions of the group first came to light in August 2008 when 208 tonnes of rail which had been removed from an upgrade project in Rugby was found in a scrap dealer check in Staffordshire.

Paul Tandon, 47, of Curbar Road, Great Barr, West Barr in West Bromwich, Neil Jones, 41, of Bradshaw Drive, Darlaston, Wallsall and John Burtenshaw, 53, of Fenny Road, Stoke Hammond, Buckinghamshire all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal from West Coast Mainline.

Image caption BTP said Burtenshaw and Doherty used their position to steal 3,500 tonnes of rail worth up to £1.5m

They were sentenced to 18 months, 21 months and two years and nine months respectively.

'Wasted money'

Terry Doherty, 48, of Rushton Close, Burtonwood, Warrington, Cheshire was sentenced to two years and six months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal from both the West Coast Mainline and Manchester Metrolink.

And Stuart Amphlett, 33, of Sefton Street, Whitefield, Manchester, was sentenced to 18 months after having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal from Manchester Metrolink.

BTP said Doherty and Burtenshaw used their position, and others within the rail sub-contract industry, to steal up to 3,500 tonnes of rail worth up to £1.5m.

The force said Doherty also conspired with Amphlett to steal rail from the Manchester Metrolink project.

Neil Henry, from Network Rail, said: "The value of the material stolen is wasted money as far as Network Rail is concerned, that's £1.5m that could otherwise have been spent on passenger facilities invested to improve the railway.

"I hope the sentences today make others stop and think before they consider stealing vital equipment from the railway."

Roy Skinner, 43, of Gordon Road, in Harwich, Essex, was sentenced to nine months, suspended for 18 months, and given 200 hours unpaid work after he pleaded guilty to the theft of 60 sleepers.

Nicky Halloran, 27, of Bagnell Street, in Sandwell, Birmingham, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal from the West Coast Mainline was sentenced to 12 months, suspended for 18 months, given 200 hours unpaid work and a three month curfew between 21:00 and 06:00 BST.

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