Unknown as to whether this has been posted, i tried some keywords but couldn't find it on this site. Apologies if wrong! Source: http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/general/2011/11/09-network-rail-insiders-blamed-for.html SOME Network Rail staff and contractors are cable thieves, according to a senior manager. The problem of metal thefts is becoming worse as the value of some metals, particularly copper, continues to rise on world markets, and there are increasingly strident calls for the scrap metal trade to be licensed and regulated. The revelation about the involvement of some Network Rail insiders came from operational services directory Dyan Crowther, when she was giving evidence to the House of Commons transport committee. She told the hearing that the staff and contractors working on projects inevitably had inside knowledge about where and when a signalling scheme was taking place. She said: "There is evidence that there is inside knowledge. There have been arrests and prosecutions of Network Rail staff who have been involved in cable theft." "It's almost like providing sweets in a sweet shop," she added. With the incidence of thefts and resulting rail disruption getting worse, British Transport Police have described the present system of controlling the scrap metal trade as dating from the days of Steptoe and Son. BTP deputy chief constable Paul Crowther told the committee that legislation had not kept pace with modern conditions. Describing railway cable theft as a 'low-risk, high-return activity', the deputy chief constable said: "When you go to scrap metal dealers you give your name and address and there are no means of knowing if the information is true. We have a risk and reward balance which is in favour of the criminal." Virgin Trains is the latest industry member to campaign for tighter controls on the handling of scrap metals, after its services have been disrupted on numerous occasions by thefts of equipment on the West Coast Main Line. VT's chief operating officer Chris Gibb was joined at Coventry station on Monday this week by representatives of British Transport Police, London Midland and the security company SmartWater to distribute information about the problem, and what it is being done to combat it. The West Midlands is one of the country's hot-spots for cable thefts, and Mr Gibb said: "Cable theft continues to be an escalating threat to Virgin Trains customers and the economy. In 2010/11 there were 6,000 hours of train delay related to more than 3,000 crimes, and British Transport Police made more than 900 arrests. The trend so far this year is worse, despite a 20 per cent drop in the price of copper. On a single day recently Virgin Trains experienced 60 hours of delay. The cost to the railways alone reaches around £19 million a year to replace lost cable and to compensate passenger and freight operators for the delays caused, while the wider impact on lost business and productivity accounts for another £19 million. But cable theft is not a victimless crime. Delayed customers are people with lives to lead jobs to get to, family to see and hospital appointments to make. The cable thieves are disrupting people's lives."