Three men have been jailed for stealing cable in Leeds resulting in trains being disrupted for five hours.
Leeds Crown Court heard the trio had struck on previous occasions without such effect but on May 27 when they stole 150 metres of live cable it resulted in signals being shut down.
Simon Waley, prosecuting, said trains were held back from around 2.15am for just over five hours costing Network Rail £2,673 in replacement and labour costs but a further £20,166 in charges because of the delay.
Darren Lund, 29, of Tong Road, Armley, was jailed for 12 months, Kevin Lund, 25, of Holdforth Gardens, Armley, and Oliver Timblin, 22, of Kepston Close, Kirkstall, were both jailed for nine months after each admitted conspiracy to steal cable.
The court heard they entered Network Rail property on April 29 after getting through fencing in Copley Hill.
They cut through three cables during “a dry run” but did not take anything.
The telecommunication cables cut cost £1,460 to replace.
Two weeks later they stole 600 metres of similar cable which costs £2,872 to replace and on May 21 they stole 350 metres costing the network £1,807.
After the disruptive episode, officers discovered a tool kit hidden under a disused bridge.
Cameras were installed and when Darren and Kevin Lund returned they were arrested.
A search of Lund’s address uncovered some cable sheathing and documents from a scrap dealer which showed BACS payments had been made into the account of Kimberley Fowler.
Inquiries showed payments totalling £3,182 had gone through her accounts.
Fowler, 24, also of Tong Road, Armley, admitted money laundering and was given a 12 month community order with 40 hours’ unpaid work and a 15 day activity programme.
Graham Parkin representing the men said: “They did this in an effort to alleviate their financial hardship.”
Detective Inspector Glen Alderson said: “Stealing railway cable is incredibly dangerous.
“Thieves risk not only a prison sentence but also serious injury and death through electrocution.
“Theft of cable can have a huge impact on the running of the rail network.
“We hope this case sends a strong message.”