Three Doncaster men have been jailed for their part in the theft of £150,000 of copper cable from railway lines in North Yorkshire.
Police said the men's actions were "extremely dangerous"
Roy Fisher, 41, of The Homestead, admitted stealing more than two-and-a-half miles of cable and conspiracy to handle stolen goods.
Richard Lee, 34, of the same address, and Cory McAvennie, 38, of Grantham Street, also admitted conspiracy.
British Transport Police said the men's actions had been "extremely dangerous".
The court heard how officers caught Fisher and another man with hacksaws by a railway line in Knottingley in January 2006.
Officers searched the homes of both men and found a large amount of stripped cable in Fisher's back garden and shed.
Further investigations found cable in other nearby gardens where Lee and McAvennie lived.
At Leeds Crown Court on Friday, Fisher was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.
Lee was given 21 months and McAvennie received a 12-month suspended sentence and 200 hours community service.
Det Ch Insp Danny Spee, of British Transport Police, said copper cable thefts were becoming an increasing problem for them, and they were stepping up patrols at the most badly affected areas.
He said: "Those who steal cable are not just risking a prison sentence - they are also risking their lives.
"This is an extremely dangerous crime which is extremely costly to the rail industry and disrupts the hundreds of thousands of passengers who rely on the rail network."
He added that they were working with scrap metal dealers to identify anyone attempting to sell on cabling.