EIGHT men arrested and charged with conspiracy to steal power cable from the railway line in the North Cotswolds are due to be sentenced.

The men are due before Birmingham Crown Court today and tomorrow over the alleged thefts which took place between November 2011 and May 2012.

Officers from British Transport Police (BTP) executed search warrants at five addresses in the Handsworth and Smethwick areas of Birmingham in May.

It was part of Operation Distillery, a major investigation into the theft of railway cable between Evesham and Moreton which took place between November 3, 2011 and May 17, 2012.

Seven men, originally from Romania, were arrested at the addresses in Handsworth and Smethwick on suspicion of conspiracy to steal railway cable.

The previous day, Wednesday, May 23 , four other Romanian men were detained after a suspicious vehicle was stopped by Warwickshire Police officers near to the railway line in Church Lawford, Warwickshire.

Three of the men were later released without charge.