Two jailed after being caught stripping railway cable in Limehouse

12:00 24 April 2012

Police are stepping up patrols to catch thieves stealing railway cables after two men were caught in London’s East End stripping £12,000-worth of copper wiring.

Gintaras Viktus, 40, and Alvynas Lazauskas, 53, have been jailed after being arrested under railway arches in Limehouse.

They were found guilty of handling stolen goods by a jury at Blackfriars crown court last Thursday.

Police found them in Carr Street and Repton Street last December stripping copper cable, with three more drums waiting to be stripped, all stolen from Network Rail.

“We’re clamping down on metal thieves with technology and specialist operations in hotspots,” Det Insp Nick Brook of British Transport Police said after the trial.

“Stealing railway cable risks injury or even death through electrocution—all for a small profit.”

‘High visibility’ patrols are being stepped up, including dog patrols, to deter cable thefts now costing the rail industry £20 million a year.

Network Rail is campaigning with police, BT and other utilities for tougher laws to stop scrap dealers paying cash for dodgy metals.

Network Rail’s Dave Ward said: “Police must be given powers to shut down rogue dealers profiting from the travelling public’s misery.”

Viktus, of no fixed address, got 18 months less 73 days in custody for a separate offence committed on remand. Lazauskas, from Meath Road in Stratford, received 12 months, less 133 days already spent inside.

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