'Foolish' fishermen got van stuck on railway line during metal theft attempt
TWO fishermen drove their van along a railway track, getting it stuck on the lines, in a bid to steal metal.
Luke Able, 26, and his friend Samuel Pelham drove a white van on to a freight line running parallel to the A63 to steal metal.
However, the pair got the van stuck on the track and were spotted using a scaffolding pole to try to lever the vehicle free.
Police raced to the railway track and caught the pair red-handed.
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British Transport Police had to cancel a freight train and the track was closed for hours, causing delays to services, as safety checks were carried out by engineers.
Judge Jeremy Richardson QC, sitting at Hull Crown Court, said: "It was a very foolish thing to have done.
"Those who take vehicles unlawfully on to the track pose a danger to the railway users and train drivers.
"The railway company had to spend a lot of time and money removing the van and checking the lines were safe."
Hull Crown Court heard the pair had driven on to the railway track in an attempt to find scrap metal to sell.
Able, of Millport Drive, west Hull, pleaded guilty to obstructing a railway line on January 28 last year.
His barrister Patrizia Doherty said: "He had lost his job at a food factory and had to succumb to benefits and on that particular day was out looking for scrap."
Judge Richardson QC sentenced Able to a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered him to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work.
Able, who is planning to join a ship setting sail in two weeks, was also ordered to pay £500 court costs.
There is a warrant out for Pelham's arrest after he joined a three-month fishing voyage instead of attending court to be sentenced.
Judge Richardson said the crime had caused "massive inconvenience" for the rail company.
He said: "The serious aspect was the potential for danger. As it happens, there was no massive disruption, but it was dangerous."
Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Yorkshire and Humberside Martin Goldman said: "It is important we take a firm stand against this type of offending.
"When metal theft occurs, whether it is railway cables, war memorials or commemorative metal plaques, we will mount a robust prosecution of those responsible.
"Victims or witnesses of potential metal theft play a crucial role in helping us to prosecute and I urge them to report these crimes to the police as soon as possible."