Smith family gang jailed for £1m railway cable theft

Convicted men Image copyright British Transport Police
Image caption The gang, (top row L to R Brian Smith, Malcolm Isaac, Charles Smith - bottom row L to R Craig Smith, Gordon Smith and Phillip Smith) were responsible for the large-scale theft of power cables

Six men, including five from the same family, have been jailed for conspiracy to steal railway cable.

The gang were responsible for more than 35 thefts across Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Nottingham and Yorkshire over 11 months in 2013.

Lincoln Crown Court heard how the gang targeted three major rail improvement projects being delivered by Network Rail, and stole signalling cable.

They then stripped the cabling and sold the copper inside.

The men targeted sites where Network Rail were carrying out work to upgrade signalling.

Image copyright British Transport Police
Image caption The court heard the total cost to Network Rail was more than £1m

Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, said "It was organised, well-planned and professional thieving.

"Over 11 months between February and December 2013 the defendants were responsible for the large-scale theft of power cables being used in these projects. Most of the thefts took place in isolated locations.

"There is a strong suggestion that at least one person with inside information, an employee within the rail network, played some part in providing information to these defendants."

He said: "Once cabling was stolen it was stripped of its sheathing. It was a very valuable commodity. It was sold as scrap to dealers. The total cost to Network Rail was in excess of £1m. That figure dwarfs the sums these defendants gained."

Mr Aspden said that on one occasion the line between Lincoln and Spalding had to be closed for two days following a theft at Sleaford that cost Network Rail £23,000.

Recorder Simon King, passing sentence, told them: "I have no alternative but to impose immediate custodial sentences. This was organised and professional thieving. It was plainly worth your while to engage in that."

  • Brian Smith, 36, of Millfield Lane Caravan Park, Doncaster, was jailed for a total of four years and 10 months. He also admitted a separate burglary involving the theft of £15,000 worth of nuts and bolts from a builders' merchants in Market Rasen
  • Malcolm Isaac, 42, of Thames Road, Grantham, and Craig Smith, 27, of Holly Street, Lincoln, were each jailed for two years and eight months
  • Charles Smith, 31, of Eastfield Lane, Grantham, and Gordon Smith, 46, of Cedar Road, Thorne, were each jailed for 14 months
  • Philip Smith, 25, of New Park Estate, Doncaster, was jailed for 12 months
  • A seventh man, Jamie Beardmore, 23, of Brunswick Street, Thurnscoe, admitted a single charge of theft of cabling in December 2013. He was given a 12 month jail sentence suspended for two years.

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