Central Trains offer £5000 reward

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http://www.centraltrains.co.uk/templates/NewsArticle.aspx?id=1522
Central Trains Offers £5000 Reward After Detonator Theft

8 November 2006

Central Trains has appealed for vandals who stole 20 potentially lethal detonators from a Coventry depot to return them.

The company has also offered a £5000 reward for information leading to the conviction of vandals who wreaked £100,000 worth of damage in the same incident. British Transport Police are examining CCTV footage from the carriage to identify the criminals, who they suspect are teenagers.

The yellow detonators, each the size of a two pound coin and with two metal tabs, were stolen from the 350 ‘Desiro’ carriage - one of its newest trains which has been in service for under a year – which was parked last weekend at a siding between Coventry station and the new rugby stadium at Spon End. Shrapnel from the detonators could kill anyone in a 30 metre radius if they are set off.

The detonators – normally kept securely in the carriage - are triggered by an impact and are designed to be a final back up warning by staff of a train accident. The discs are placed on the track approaching the incident and set off by any approaching trains rolling over them. The noise of the explosions warns train drivers to stop.

Central Trains has introduced security patrols at the depot in addition to existing security measures which include CCTV on the carriage itself. In the attack, the worst so far in a series of four, vandals also stole two fire extinguishers and twenty emergency safety hammers and broke 42 windows and glass panels.

The company launched its ‘Stop It See It Report It’ campaign earlier this year to combat over £1 million worth of vandalism on its trains annually.

Central Trains managing director Steve Banaghan said: “These detonators could kill. We want to know they’re not in the wrong hands which is why we’re appealing for them to be returned, and we’ve stepped up security at our depots to prevent any more vandalism.

“Crime on the railways is lower than in the community generally, but we work closely with the British Transport Police to bring people who attack our staff, passengers, or property to justice.”

Sgt Martin Smith of British Transport Police said: “These vandals probably don’t realise the dangers of what they’re doing. They could be hit by trains, cut by glass or electrocuted - the power lines carry up to 25000 volts.

“Someone knows who did this, and I would ask them to come forward before the offenders are seriously hurt or killed. Their next bit of vandalism could be their last.”

He appealed for anyone with any information on the detonators or about the attacks to contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40.

NOTES TO EDITORS

Vandalism on Central Trains in the past year has included:

* Graffiti-ing the floor of a packed train
* Throwing seat cushions out of the window
* Spraying tear gas
* Racist graffiti in toilets
* Brawling
* Throwing fireworks and rocks at trains
* Firing airguns at trains
* Breaking windows and letting off fire extinguishers
* Ripping off internal doors
 
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