COMMUTERS faced rush hour “misery” when criminals cut a railway cable while trying to steal it.
British Transport Police (BTP) were called at 7.35am after the incident in the Berkhamsted area caused signal failures and major disruptions on lines into London.
It was the second out of three train cables that were damaged or stolen in Herts in eight days.
Detective Constable Michael Hatcher, the investigating officer, said: “The act of stealing cable is an extremely dangerous crime.
“In these particular incidents the thieves caused major disruption to thousands of passengers.
“In this area, the cables do not contain copper; they are solely aluminium and have a practically worthless sell-on value.”
Dyan Crowther, operational services director for Network Rail, said: “Metal thieves targeting the railway are causing misery to thousands of passengers and freight users and costing the industry, and the wider economy, tens of millions a year – and rising.”
Independent charity Crimestoppers offers a reward of up to £1,000 for details leading to the arrest and conviction of cable thieves. Call it anonymously on 0800 555 111 or phone BTP on 0800 405040, quoting reference B6/LNA of 29/03/2011.