Man jailed for endangering railway passengers


A man has pleaded guilty to endangering railway passengers and attempted theft of electrical cable from an overhead line, Basildon Crown Court has heard.

Mark Bradshaw, 44, was charged by British Transport Police following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), after an incident in which a man was found dead at the side of the railway in Benfleet, Essex, on June 27, 2012. It appeared the man had been killed while attempting to steal the overhead cable.

 District Crown Prosecutor Ian Elkins for CPS East of England said: "This case has highlighted the dangers of tampering with electrical lines on the railway. It is distressing that a man was killed as a result of trying to steal overhead cable and Bradshaw was lucky to have escaped injury.

 "However, because of the serious nature of the offending and the potential danger caused to commuters, we felt it was in the public interest to proceed and we will prosecute these cases rigorously through the courts.

 "On reviewing the evidence we advised that Bradshaw should be charged with endangering railway passengers or any other persons who might use or be on that track for any reason, by an unlawful act. This charge reflects the danger caused not only to passengers travelling on the railway but also to Bradshaw and the man who died.

 "We also advised that Bradshaw be charged with attempting to steal electrical cable belonging to Network Rail, on the same date."

Bradshaw admitted both charges against him and asked for three similar offences to be taken into consideration. He was sentenced to12 months' imprisonment.

 Mr Elkins said: "We hope this case serves as a warning that trying to steal cable or other material from the railways is extremely dangerous and carries serious consequences."

Following the sentencing of Mark Bradshaw today at Basildon Crown Court, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Taylor, of British Transport Police, said: "Today's sentencing sends a clear message to those who think they can steal from the railway.

"Not only have we seen a man lose his life, the court has handed a custodial sentence to Bradshaw who had a clear intension to attack railway infrastructure in order to make money.

"Overhead live cables were cut and brought down, causing a safety risk to those officers and Network Rail engineers who had to attend the incident in the early hours of Wednesday, 27 June 2012."

DCI Taylor added: "It is becoming more difficult to move metal on due to new regulations, and it will become only more difficult following the news that the Scrap Metal Dealer's Bill has been passed by both Houses of Parliament today [Tuesday, 12 February].

"We will continue to work closely with railway agencies and seek prosecution to those who attack the railway."

Dave Ward, Network Rail route managing director, said: "This incident shows in the clearest possible terms the dangers of cable theft.

"We are doing everything we can to protect the railway and will continue to work closely with British Transport Police to do everything in our power to deter thieves and bring those who attack our network to justice."