U.K. Government Must Do More to Stop Cable Theft, Lawmakers Say

The U.K. government should give police more resources to prevent the theft of cable from the rail network, lawmakers said in a report today.

The Department for Transport dismissed a recommendation made in January by the cross-party House of Commons Transport Committee to increase police funding to better combat cable theft. The government said legislation introduced that month, banning cash payments for scrap metal and raising fines for handling stolen metal, would suffice to stem the pilfering.

“Cable theft continues to disrupt train journeys for thousands of passengers across the U.K.,” Louise Ellman, the opposition Labour parliamentarian who heads the Transport Committee, said in a statement in London. “I am disappointed that the government will not provide further resources for the police to tackle metal theft.”

The theft of railway cables, driven by increased copper prices, delayed or halted 35,000 trains and cost the U.K.’s rail network 16 million pounds ($26 million) last year, according to the Transport Committee. The government is granting the British Transport Police 5 million pounds to create a metal-theft task force.

To contact the reporter on this story: Steve Rothwell in London at srothwell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net

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