Early morning raids in Grantham by British Transport Police officers

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Ten people have been arrested this morning (Wednesday) as part of a major investigation into cable theft in the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire area.

Officers from British Transport Police (BTP) swooped on a gang of suspected cable thieves during a string of early morning raids.

Over 90 BTP officers visited 10 addresses in Grantham, Newark, Doncaster, Lincoln and Wellingborough as part of the latest crackdown to tackle cable crime on the railways.

Detailed house searches followed the arrests and a number of items were seized and removed for forensic examination, including cutting tools, mobile phones, computer and laptops, receipts and bank statements.

Detective Inspector Stuart Mellish, heading up the operation, said: “These arrests follow a complex seven-month investigation by officers from Operation Leopard, BTP’s team of officers dedicated to tackling cable theft. We believe this organised gang have been working together to steal cable, valued in the region of over £1.2 million, from across England over a one year period.

“Railway cable theft is blighting our infrastructure and disrupting the lives of ordinary people on a daily basis, but we have teams of officers dedicated to tackling the problem and who have been really effective. Recently we’ve seen significant reductions in cable-related offences on the railway in the North East - a 69% reduction, which is great news.”

DI Mellish added: “We’re also arresting more and more thieves and putting them before the courts. However, we’re not complacent and, as today’s operation shows, our work to tackle these suspected thieves will continue.

“I’d like to thank members of the public for their ongoing support in helping us in tackling this crime and ask that people continue to report any suspicious behaviour near the railway, or in their communities, to police so we can work together to drive this crime down further.”

Three men, aged 22, 23 and 44 were arrested in the Doncaster area. Four men, aged 22, 29, 39 and 40 were arrested in the Grantham area. One man, aged 25 was arrested in Lincoln, another man, aged 34 was arrested in Newark and a 44-year-old man was also arrested in the Wellingborough area.

All 10 men are currently being questioned in police custody.