Three-year total includes 52% increase in the last year alone
Rail infrastructure firm, Network Rail, said it has lost £43m over the last three years to cable thieves, with a 52% jump in thefts in the last year.
Network rail said it was now suffering six attacks per day, and had resorted to a range of measures to combat the thieves.
The targeting of the thieves by British Transport Police is second in priority only to terrorism, Network Rail said, with a dedicated task force and increased patrols. Over 3,000 crimes were recorded by BTP in 2010/11, with £16.5m of cable lost in that year alone.
Network Rail is also making use of a dedicated helicopter, CCTV, forensic marking, trembler alarms and the introduction of new type of cable that is easier to identify and harder to steal.
Dyan Crowther, director, operational services at Network Rail, said: “These criminal acts have to stop. Every day passengers and essential freight deliveries upon which our economy relies are being delayed by thieves looking to make a quick buck at our expense.
“I cannot over-emphasise just how serious these crimes are. Cable thieves deny passengers the service they rightly expect and, through the massive cost to the industry, deny everyone improvements to rail services.”