SEVEN people have appeared in court accused of conspiring to steal £2million of copper cable from the railway.
The scam, against Network Rail, is claimed to involve 27 separate thefts of cabling between January 2011 and March this year.
Newcastle Crown Court heard an investigation by the British Transport Police into the alleged conspiracy involved examination of phone records, cell site analysis, records from scrap merchants and vehicle hire agreements.
Darren Jones, 44, of no fixed address, Robert Baker, 28, of Eastbourne Square, Sunderland, James Curry, 28, of Calshot Road, Sunderland, Laura Harris, 27, of Froude Avenue, South Shields, Boden Hughes, 26, of Fulwell Road, Sunderland, Anthony Innins, 41, of Plumtree Avenue, Sunderland and George Pascoe, 38, of Rowlandson Terrace, Sunderland, all appeared at court yesterday for a preliminary hearing.
None of the seven were asked to enter a plea to the conspiracy charge they face.
Prosecutor Jolyon Perks told the court: “All defendants have been sent in relation to a conspiracy to steal various types of copper cabling used by network rail.
“The investigation spans between January 1 2011 and March 23 13.
“I believe it involves 27 separate incidents.
“The prosecution evidence is in relation to cell site analysis, hiring of vehicles, weighing in of copper at scrap metal dealerships and associated evidence.”
The court heard the trial, which has a provisional date of September next year, could last up to six weeks.
They will all be asked how they plead at the next hearing.
All, except Jones, who was remanded in custody, were granted bail until they are back in court on March 4 next year.