TEW PLUS Tackling Cable Theft (Rail and Utilities)

12 09 2012
English: Two BTP vehicles

English: Two BTP vehicles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cable theft is a major problem for the rail industry, as for many other industries, including power and communications providers. It is one of British Transport Police (BTP) biggest challenges, because of the widespread damage and disruption it causes.

Over the last three years, cable theft has cost the rail industry £43 million and caused misery to passengers by delaying trains for a total of more than 16,000 hours. It has also left communities without power, telephone and broadband communications.

On the 10th July, TEW PLUS were invited by the BTP to participate on Operation Leopard, a national day of action to combat metal theft.  Along with a number of other invited suppliers, TEW PLUS and the BTP visited a number of scrap yards in West Midlands area, to put their expert knowledge to good use and try to positively identify any stolen cable, CCTV or other assets belonging to Network Rail or other rail operators.  As Operation Leopard is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to report on any observations, just in case prosecutions follow. 

As well as thefts from depots, criminals are increasingly willing to risk their lives to steal live lineside cable, and it is this type of theft the causes the majority of disruption.  Although they risk their own safety, cable theft is generally not a safety issue for the railways as signals default to red if interfered with.

Cable Theft – A Practical Solution from TEW PLUS

Although the BTP has set up a national intelligence cell and has support from Network Rail, there is more the infrastructure sector can do to make new and existing installations secure.

For this reason TEW PLUS has developed a unique and intelligent trembler alarm system, coupled with hi-resolution CCTV and remote communication to identify a theft in progress.  This allows the BTP to be far more pro-active and pin-point potential hotspots.  Effectively allowing the Police to make security decisions without visiting site.

Covert security systems which are manufactured in house at Tew PLUS and can be tailored to suit the project requirements either covert or highly visible;

  • Camera and IR detector housed in sleeper off cut.
  • Can be deployed and operational in a matter of minutes. Ideal for site security.
  • Standard covert IR to 11 meters with 15 degrees spread.
  • No local power or communications required (Go Anywhere Technology).
  • Triggers sent by text message and images by e-mail using GPRS.

Real Time Tracking and Alerts

TEW PLUS offer a range of products which can be embedded into individual assets to detect an unwanted behaviour, remotely alert yourself or your nominted point of contact and, if required, track your stolen asset across the country.

GPS/GPRS/RF can be embedded with vibration, motion or noise triggering the device to send an alert. An easy to use front end can be provided to graphically map the device under threat and track it accordingly.

In closing this blog, it is interesting to reflect that in recessionary Britain, the number of people prepared to take the risks to steal cable from the railway it is increasing. That’s why metal thefts have gone up 50 per cent in the past year alone; prices have also doubled since 2009. Now the problem costs our economy an estimated £770 million a year.

Many of the cables are ripped up in the dead of night from the sides of railways. Mainly copper, some are on huge coils waiting to be fitted; most are in the ground, but redundant; others are LIVE.

They are easy to target because they are generally far from homes and people, and there are thousands of miles of track to choose from, which makes them virtually impossible to protect, unless you are using a trembler system from TEW PLUS.

Read more on cable theft here :http://tinyurl.com/6pb656b

You can help protect your community from the effects of cable and metal theft. If you have information about cable theft on the railway, please let the BTP know by calling Freefone 0800 405040 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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