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Five railway industry workers have been jailed for stealing 1.5million worth of track to sell for scrap.
The 'industrial scale' thefts from Network Rail projects, including an upgrade of the West Coast Main Line in the Rugby area, saw lorry-loads of used rails diverted to unauthorised scrapyards.
A judge sitting at Birmingham Crown Court today jailed John Burtenshaw, 53, Terence Doherty, 48, Stuart Amphlett, 33, Paul Tandon, 47, and 41-year-old Neil Jones for conspiracy to steal.
Two other men - Nicky Halloran, 27, and 43-year-old Roy Skinner - were given suspended sentences after admitting respective charges of conspiracy to steal and theft.
Doherty, a Jarvis rail firm sub-contractor, conspired with Burtenshaw, a Jarvis plant manager, to steal metal and sleepers which should have been taken to authorised recyclers.
Network Rail would then have received the value of the scrap, the court heard.
But Doherty and Burtenshaw used their positions to steal up to 3,500 tonnes of rail, their trial at Warwick Crown Court heard.
The offences first came to light in August 2008 when a scrap dealer check in Staffordshire revealed 208 tonnes of rail had been removed from the Rugby upgrade project.
Jones and Tandon, who worked as supervisors for a sub-contractor, and Amphlett, a logistics manager for another firm, all subsequently became implicated in the scam.
Detective Sergeant Chris Hearn said: 'Using various techniques we were able to track the movement of some of the stolen rail to scrap dealers in Birmingham, Bedfordshire and Liverpool.
'Inquiries at these dealers revealed more than 500 tonnes of rail had been moved by the conspirators, who were paid more than £71,500.
'Further investigation revealed a total of 3,500 tonnes of rail and other metal equipment from the Rugby project was unaccounted for, with a potential value of almost £1.5 million.
'There is no doubt that the actions of this organised group deprived Network Rail and, in turn rail users across the country, of valuable finance which could have been put towards maintenance and improvements.'
Detective Sergeant Hearn said the men did a bad job of covering up their crime.
Det Sgt Hearn said: 'I think these individuals felt it was like a secondary income - they felt they were entitled to steal off their employer.
'They felt they could steal from the railway and because they were so up front they left reasonable evidence trails.'
Probe: Detective Sergeant Chris Hearn said the potential value of the theft was £1.5million
Neil Henry, Network Rail's head of operations and performance, said the value of the material stolen could have been spent on improving passenger facilities at stations.
'I hope the sentences today make others stop and think before they consider stealing vital equipment from the railway,' he said.
Doherty, from Warrington, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal from the West Coast Main Line and Manchester Metrolink and was sentenced to two years and six months' imprisonment.
Burtenshaw, from, Stoke Hammond, Buckinghamshire, was jailed for two years and nine months, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal from the West Coast Main Line.
Halloran, from West Bromwich, West Midlands, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal from the West Coast Main Line and was sentenced to 12 months' jail, suspended for 18 months.
He was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and given a three-month curfew.
Jones, from Darlaston, West Midlands, was found guilty of conspiracy to steal from the West Coast Main Line and was sentenced to 21 months.
Amphlett, from Kitts Green, Birmingham, was sentenced to 18 months, having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal.
Skinner, from Harwich, Essex, was sentenced to nine months, suspended for 18 months and give 200 hours of unpaid work, having pleaded guilty to theft of 60 sleepers.
Tandon from Great Barr, West Midlands, was sentenced to 18 months, having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal from the West Coast Main Line.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1zWmwPkPt
This article first appeared on www.dailymail.co.uk
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