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Cable theft cut

A forensic marking product is among deterrents used to reduce cable theft on Network Rail by 93pc over the last five years.

According to the latest figures released by Network Rail (which includes data collected up until the end of December 2015), the number of incidents of cable theft fell from 845 in 2011-12 to 61 so far in 2015-16. The total delay caused by cable theft has decreased by 88pc, from 344,685 minutes in 2011-12 to 41,865 so far this year.

As part of the deterrent, British Transport Police credits the use of forensic marking, CCTV, a Network Rail helicopter, and trembler alarms and other devices to protect railway cable. BTP has also encouraged better security at depots and lineside.

The forensic marking product SelectaDNA has been used by security contractor LandSherrifs since 2011 to reduce and deter metal theft on routes owned by Network Rail including the Anglia, Kent and Sussex lines; and on the HS1 route in south east England, which is maintained by Network Rail.

Over 2012-13, use of SelectaDNA Trace with other security measures, helped reduce cable theft on Network Rail’s Anglia route by 82pc and helped cut delays by 86pc. The collaboration has seen reduced metal theft on all marked routes using SelectaDNA. There have also been no live cable thefts for nearly two years on the HS1 rail route since SelectaDNA has been used to protect the entire line (2013-15).

SelectaDNA is a spray containing UV markers, synthetic DNA and metal particles that can be used to identify the cable as belonging to a particular rail operator and coming from a specific location. It has been deployed at specific crime hotspots along routes to combat thefts of rail equipment such as copper cable, rail track and signal boxes belonging to Network Rail.

Tyler Le May from LandSherrifs said: “Once metal has been marked, its resale value to the criminal plummets. We have found SelectaDNA to be a highly effective way of deterring metal thieves in the first instance. Thieves know that if they are caught with metal marked with SelectaDNA then the police are able to connect them directly to a particular theft and they will almost certainly be convicted.”

Chris Gough at Land Sheriffs added: “Having thousands of visible SelectaDNA signs in place has also acted as a deterrent and helped us achieve the low amount of cable crime on the HS1 route. This is as a direct result of using SelectaDNA.”


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