Sunderland men admit £2million railway cable theft conspiracy

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TWO Wearsiders have admitted their parts in a £2million copper cable theft conspiracy from the railway system.

The scam, against Network Rail, is claimed to involve 27 separate thefts of cabling between October 2010 and March last year and a total of seven people have been accused of being involved.

At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday Darren Jones, 44, of no fixed address and Anthony Innins, 41, of Plumtree Avenue, Sunderland, both pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to steal.

Jones is currently serving a ten year sentence for aggravated burglary and his earliest release date from that is not until December 2017.

His barrister Glen Gatland told the court yesterday: “His involvement was in about ten incidents, weighing metal in at the scrap yard.” No details were outlined in court about Innins’ involvement in the railway thefts.

The two men will be sentenced after the trial of their five co-accused, which is due to take place on September 8. The court heard during an earlier hearing 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.

Prosecutor Jolyon Perks said then: “All defendants have been sent in relation to a conspiracy to steal various types of copper cabling used by network rail.

“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 could last up to six weeks.

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, and George Pascoe, 38, of Rowlandson Terrace, Sunderland, will be in court to enter their pleas on March 26.