A PAIR of thieves who caused transport chaos after making off with more than 100 yards of railway signalling cable and selling it for scrap have had their sentences cut on appeal by top judges.
Eastwood men Wayne Mark Kershaw (31) and Peter David Manion (30) admitted stealing a total of 120 yards of live 650-volt cable in the middle of the night on two occasions in January last year at Masborough North Junction in Rotherham.
Kershaw, of Bethel Road, and Manion, of Grosvenor Road, were each jailed for three years at Sheffield Crown Court on September 30 last year, having both pleaded guilty to two counts of theft.
This week Lord Justice Aikens, Mr Justice Irwin and Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, cut each of their sentences to 22 months.
The court heard that the cost of the disruption caused by the pair—who were paid just £69 for their haul by a scrap metal dealer—was more than £25,000, and the cost of replacing the cable was £2,698.
One train was cancelled and 127 trains delayed.
The two were caught after they were seen on CCTV dragging a tool box on wheels away from the track. Officers followed the wheel marks to a housing estate where Kershaw was arrested.
The pair’s lawyer, Nicholas Neale, asked the judges to reduce both men’s sentences.
“This is a classic case of a lot of work for very little gain,” he said.
Mr Justice Irwin said: “The theft of signalling cable is very prevalent in the area. There are almost weekly delays to train services as a result and there was a need for deterrent sentences to be passed.”
But, having accepted arguments that too high a starting point was taken and too great an emphasis placed on deterrence, the judge went on to allow both appeals, cutting the pair’s sentences to 22 months each.