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Eleven arrests for railway cable theft
5:00pm Sunday 3rd June 2012 in Cotswolds
ELEVEN men have been remanded in custody after being arrested and charged with offences relating to theft of railway cables on the Cotswold Line.
Officers from British Transport Police (BTP) carried out search warrants at five addresses in the Handsworth and Smethwick areas of Birmingham last Thursday.
The raids were part of Operation Distillery, an ongoing investigation into thefts of railway cable between Evesham and Moreton over the past six months.
Seven men, originally from Romania, were arrested by BTP officers on suspicion of conspiracy to steal railway cable.
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, the previous day.
Detective Inspector Andy Irwin-Porter said: “This is the latest phase of a painstaking major investigation into a number of thefts on the railway line in the Cotswolds area.
“The investigation began in November 2011 and scores of BTP officers from the South West, Wales and West Midlands sectors have been involved from the beginning right up until the arrests were made on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.”
All 11 men, who are aged between 19 and 36, appeared before magistrates in Birmingham on Friday and were charged with conspiracy to steal railway power cable.
They were remanded in custody and are due to appear at Birmingham Crown Court.
The arrested men are Stefanel Ruset, aged 19, Alexandru Tofaleanu, 29, Costinel Mijloc 29, Mihai Mihart, 25, Jan Trofin, 36, Chris Toader, 24, Florin Cojocararu, 25, Adrian Nae, 25, Mihai Binta, 26, Gabriel Mijloc, 29 and Adrian Volnescu, 29.
Earlier this month, Network Rail launched a £1million fight to tackle the growing issue of cable thefts along the Cotswold Line after a spate of incidents over the past year.