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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 November 2005, 18:22 GMT
50,000 reward to catch arsonist
ARSON SITES
Map of arson sites
1 Kingsbury
2 Coleshill
3 Lea Marston
4 Kitts Green
5 Bickenhill (near Birmingham International)
6 Barnt Green railway station
7 Water Orton
8 Small Heath
9 Rugeley
A 50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the capture of an arsonist blamed for a series of attacks on the Midlands rail network.

His crimes have cost an estimated 20m in repairs and compensation for delays.

The person responsible, thought to be an ex-rail employee with a grudge, has been setting fire to signal cables.

There are still delays on the West Coast Main Line a week after the latest attack, in which vital equipment in Staffordshire was destroyed.

Virgin Trains had to cancel more than 100 services after fire wrecked a signalling sub-station near Rugeley.

It hit services on the direct line from Stafford to Rugby, forcing more trains on to congested lines through Coventry, Birmingham and Wolverhampton, leading to delays and cancellations.

The 50,000 reward has been offered by Network Rail to help catch the person responsible for causing railway damage in Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

The attacks have hit services by several operators, including Central and Virgin.

Cabling 'cut'

The earlier incidents of fires and vandalism were during June and July 2004. There was then a lull until September this year, when there were three more attacks.

Det Supt Michael Field described the latest incident in Staffordshire last Thursday as an "escalation".

He said: "Before, or to begin with, he began by cutting cabling.

"It then moved on to setting fire to cabling and location boxes and now we're in a situation where he's setting fire to buildings.

"Obviously there's a danger to people who have to put out these types of fires."

Network Rail spokesman Kevin Groves said: "It's a distinct possibility that the person responsible for these incidents is a former rail employee."




SEE ALSO:
Services affected by rail 'arson'
04 Nov 05 |  West Midlands
Rail delays after suspected arson
03 Nov 05 |  West Midlands
New leads in railway arson attack
31 Oct 05 |  West Midlands
Trains back to normal after fire
04 Oct 05 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Rail commuters facing long delays
08 Sep 05 |  West Midlands


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