Latest Rail News


Inside man at Network Rail jailed for £500,000 cable theft spree

A former Network Rail engineer was the inside man for a gang that stole cable worth £500,000 from all over England’s rail network.

Anthony Innins, 42 of Plumtree Avenue in Wear View, Sunderland and his conspirators were jailed last week for conspiracy to steal.

The investigation by British Transport Police (BTP) has led to a combined 17 years in prison for the gang, who stole the copper cabling and left the rail industry with a £2m repair bill.

The six men were sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court at the end of last week, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal at a previous hearing.

The court heard the thefts were orchestrated by Innins, who worked as an engineer for Network Rail. He abused his position to provide his associates with inside information, which they used to steal cable between 2011 and 2013.

He conspired with Robert Baker, 29, of Cheltenham Road, Sunderland; James Curry, 29, of Calshot Road, Sunderland; Boden Hughes, 26, of Nye Dene, Sunderland; George Pascoe, 39, of Rowlandson Terrace, Sunderland; and Darren Jones, 44, of no fixed address.

The six men hired vans to transport the copper cable that they stole from locations including Hampshire, Lincolnshire, Manchester, West Yorkshire, Cornwall, Durham and Newcastle.

Working with Network Rail, BTP officers were able to link Innins to the crimes and, through monitoring his movements, find out where the gang would strike next.

Innins and his five accomplices were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal in March 2013. All six were charged and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal when they appeared in court.

Speaking after the gang were sentenced, Sergeant Nigel Ashworth said: “This was a complex investigation, and I am grateful to all those officers and our colleagues at Network Rail, who worked tirelessly to bring these six men to justice.

“Their actions not only caused significant disruption to the rail network, they put the lives of those who use the rail network in danger.

“Cable theft is not a victimless crime. It causes millions of pounds worth of damage, disrupts vital rail networks and endangers the lives of passengers and staff.

“I hope those sentenced today will use their time in prison to reflect on what they have done.”

Vicki Beadle, community safety manager for Network Rail in the north east said: “We are pleased the judge has recognised the severity of this case and has handed-down substantial sentences. Cable theft causes delays to passengers and train services, and costs the tax payer time and money.

“Nationally, delays caused by cable theft have reduced significantly from its peak several years ago with the improvement down to a number of factors, including Network Rail and other infrastructure companies successfully lobbying for a change in legislation regarding buying and selling scrap metal, and British Transport Police targeting thieves and unscrupulous scrap dealers buying stolen metal.

“Network Rail engineers are working with suppliers and other industries to make metal – particularly cables – harder to steal and easier to identify and are introducing new ways of working to reduce delay and fix thefts more quickly.”

In our latest issue David Stevenson writes about how Network Rail and the police are winning the war against cable theft.

All the men charged admitted conspiracy to steal and received the following sentences:

  • Anthony Innins was jailed for four years and two months.

Anthony ININNS resize 635470729913204000

  • James Curry was jailed for three years and three months.

James CURRY resize 635470730470124000

  • George Pascoe was jailed for two years and three months.

George PASCOE resize 635470730352032000

  • Darren Jones was jailed for two years and three months.

Darren JONES resize 635470730191976000

  • Robert Baker was jailed for three years and five months for conspiracy to steal and an unrelated shed burglary.

Robert BAKER resize 635470730591960000

  • Boden Hughes was jailed for two years for conspiracy to steal. He also received nine years in jail for arson to a ferry.

Boden HUGHES resize 635470730067176000

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]

Comments may be moderated or deleted for legal reasons.


Andrew Williams   24/09/2014 at 00:32

They not only cost 2million pound they put their life,s at risk and I am proud to be part of the big orange family unreal that a railway engineer would put himself in this position or even associate himself with these criminals after working hard to become an engineer quick fix for money diabolical to think that this man abused his knowledge unreal. Never ever have I seen such stupidity in my short life and two and a half years as a Trackman honestly. So pleased of the outcome well done to all involved as well as the judge for sentencing them all. Glad to know this is a rarity that someone, a once respected railway engineer could do such a thing.

Colin Thompson   26/09/2014 at 12:32

I am unable to express in any detail what I really feel about this particular form of Low Life. VERY Well Done to all those who monitored and prosecuted them! And as for any risks posed to their own life-and-limb during their criminal activities, quite frankly I couldn't give a "tuppenny"...

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

Most Read

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >