Rail theft

Stephen Hepburn, MP for the Jarrow Constituency has questioned Government Ministers on what they are doing to combat the growing problem of cable theft on railway infrastructure on the Tyne and Wear Metro and in the rest of the North East.

There has been a series of high profile cable theft on the Metro that has brought services to a halt. Nexus has offered a £1,000 reward for information about the two recent cable thefts.

This has been a growing problem in recent years, likely driven by a rise in metal prices.

Back in 2011, Nexus submitted written evidence to the Transport Select Committee in Parliament about metal theft on the network, stating that the problem was causing severe disruption on parts of the Tyne and Wear Metro.

Mr Hepburn recently asked the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to tackle cable theft on railway infrastructure in Tyne and Wear and North East England.

The Minister of State for Transport, Jo Johnson MP, said: “British Transport Police (BTP) engages in regular enforcement activity to combat cable theft, as well as joint working with partner agencies such as local police forces, local authorities, the environment agency and other stakeholders such as HMRC, Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and Network Rail.”

“BTP response teams in the North East continue to focus patrol and investigative resources in cable theft hotspots. BTP is using a number of tactics, both covert and overt, to investigate these offences. BTP also uses technological solutions to combat cable theft.”

“Within the last fortnight three suspects in the Hartlepool Area have been arrested for cable theft and the matter is being investigated.”

Stephen Hepburn MP also asked the Home Secretary what steps he is taking to tackle metal theft in Tyne and Wear. The Minister of State for the Home Department, Nick Hurd MP, told the Jarrow constituency MP: “The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 provides the legislative basis for tackling metal theft across England and Wales by making it more difficult for criminals to dispose of stolen metal through scrap metal yards.

“Enforcement of the Act is a matter for individual local authorities and for chief constables and Police and Crime Commissioners who must decide how best to deploy their resources to respond to the crimes affecting their local communities.”

Stephen Hepburn MP said:

“This growing problem of cable theft crimes on the Metro needs to dealt with immediately.It is unacceptable that people are risking serious injury and death by messing round with railway infrastructure cables. 

“The fact that there has now been two serious incidents in the past few weeks, highlights the need for action.

Whenever the Metro grinds to a halt it has a major effect on the local economy and on local people who rely on the service.  Because of cable theft, people are made late for work, miss appointments and are put off from using the Metro.

“It appears that in our region the problem is most severe so I’m pleased to be pressing the Government to act and tackle this issue as a matter of urgency.”


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Meet your MP


Stephen Hepburn has served the Jarrow Constituency as MP since 1997.

He was last elected to serve in June 2017 and won the seat with a conclusive 17,263 majority.

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