AFTER wreaking havoc across the rail network, this thief has been banned from every train in the country.
Joseph Carolan has caused hours of misery to commuters, cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds and put lives at risk – all so he could steal metal from railway lines.
Magistrates have now slapped Carolan with a three-year ban preventing him from using any Metro, train or railway station.
During his latest escapade, the 47-year-old admitted stealing essential equipment from the Metro lines during an overnight raid.
Carolan, of Exeter Street, Pallion, risked his life by sneaking on to the tracks near Pallion Metro station to steal cables and other metal.
He was snapped by hidden cameras triggered after police received a report that the lines were being persistently raided.
Officers, accompanied by police dogs, were called in to search the area along with the police helicopter after the call was received on February 9. An abandoned car was found near the tracks and a search found stolen bonding cable in the boot.
Network Rail engineers also confirmed impedance bonds, which form part of the railway’s overhead equipment, had been taken.
An investigation led officers to Carolan, who was arrested on February 14.
He was charged with theft from the railway, driving without insurance and a road traffic offence.
Now, Carolan has been jailed for 20 months, suspended for 18 months, ordered to work 180 hours unpaid and must pay £400 compensation to Network Rail.
Carolan was also given a criminal antisocial behaviour order which bans him from entering any Network Rail property, including stations, trains and Metros across England and Wales, for the next three years.
He was also handed a 12 month driving ban and ordered not to enter any scrap yards dealing metal.
Detective Inspector Mick Jackson, of British Transport Police’s (BTP) Operation Leopard investigation team, said: “Carolan unlawfully entered railway tracks, a dangerous act in itself.
“However, he continued to break the law as he stole equipment which is essential to the running of Tyne and Wear Metro.
“Luckily this took place when Metro trains were no longer running – had this happened during operating times, would have caused havoc to commuters’ journeys.
“Thanks to covert cameras across the Metro system, we were able to swiftly look back and, with intelligence from our colleagues at Northumbria Police, quickly identify Carolan.”
In October 2010, Carolan caused havoc on the tracks when he stole 23 impedance bonds from tracks between East Boldon and Millfield.
Six trains were cancelled to allow repairs to be carried out.
He was given a 40 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, a 12 month supervision order and a three month curfew.
Phil Verster, Network Rail route managing director, said: “The irresponsible behaviour of greedy thieves is causing massive inconvenience to passengers across the North East.
“Not only are they putting themselves in danger, they are forcing us to use slow and outdated methods of moving trains in order to protect passengers.”