Police hunting cable thieves from the air

THIEVES responsible for disrupting hundreds of Metro passengers by stealing cables from the light rail network now face being hunted by a helicopter using infra-red technology.

Officers from the police’s north east air support unit are lending a hand in the fight against cable theft from the Tyne and Wear Metro system.

The police helicopter will be flying regularly over Metro lines to keep an eye out for intruders.

Inspector Les Pattison, of the police’s Metro unit, said: “The theft of cable from the Metro system, as well as being expensive to replace, causes great inconvenience to the public when the system has to be suspended for repair.

“We have increased patrols in order to deter criminals from entering the railway lines, and the addition of the helicopter will be of great assistance in locating and catching offenders.”

“We are working with our partners to look at the whole issue of cable theft on the Metro system and we will be carrying out more targeted patrols in the future as well as looking at other measures to reduce the number of incidents.”

Nexus’ director of rail and infrastructure Ken Mackay said: “We welcome the support of the Northumbria force helicopter in the fight against cable theft on the Metro network.

“Patrols on the system have been already stepped up, especially during the night, and having air support will make it even tougher for the thieves.”