TRAIN commuters in East Anglia have been hit by 1,232 hours of delays due to railway cable theft in the past three years, new figures have revealed.
Figures released by Network Rail show that East Anglia has had 179 incidents of theft since 2008, leading to 603 cancelled trains and 6,193 delayed trains.
Network Rail has revealed it has paid almost £4.5 million in compensation costs to companies and freight operators in the region who have been affected by delays.
Nationally, almost £43 million has been lost through cable theft and more than 16,000 hours of delays have been recorded in the three-year period.
There has been a 52 per cent rise in attacks this past year over the country, averaging more than six a day.
Andrew Munden, Network Rail route director for Anglia, said: “These criminal acts have to stop. Every day passengers and essential freight deliveries upon which our economy relies are being delayed by thieves looking to make a quick buck at our expense.
“I cannot over-emphasise just how serious these crimes are.
“Cable thieves deny passengers the service they rightly expect and, through the massive cost to the industry, deny everyone improvements to rail services.
“We are doing everything we can to protect the railway and will continue to work closely with British Transport Police and other rail partners to do everything in our power to deter thieves and bring those who attack our network to justice.”
Nationwide, the British Transport Police recorded 3000 cable theft crimes last year leading to more than 900 arrests.
Anyone with any information about cable theft should contact British Transport Police or Crimestoppers and could receive up to £1000 reward for information that leads to a conviction.