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Last Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007, 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK
Rail vandal jailed for 10 years
Allan Nicol
Allan Nicol was angry at how the rail industry was being run
A former railway worker who carried out what is thought to be the UK's worst campaign of vandalism on the railway network has been jailed for 10 years.

Allan Nicol, 48, of Yardley, Birmingham, cost the railway industry millions of pounds with nearly 7,000 train services cancelled or delayed.

He was sentenced on Friday after being found guilty in January of putting lives at risk during the attacks.

Nicol cut cables and set fire to signalling equipment in 12 attacks.

Such a sustained campaign as yours appeared to be without precedent in the UK
Judge Robert Orme

At his trial he was convicted of putting lives at risk by setting fire to a trackside relay room in Rugeley, Staffordshire, in 2005.

He was cleared of endangering lives through criminal damage when he cut signalling cables at Kingsbury Junction, Warwickshire, in 2004.

He previously admitted causing criminal damage to tracks in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, the West Midlands and Worcestershire between June 2004 and November 2005.

His acts cost Network Rail more than 4m, the court was told.

Judge Robert Orme recommended that Nicol serve a minimum of five years in prison.

"Such a sustained campaign as yours appeared to be without precedent in the UK," he said.

Campaign of vandalism
Carried out from June 2004 - November 2005
2,000 hours of delays
200,000 passengers disrupted
807,000 paid in repairs
3m paid in compensation

"During that campaign, particularly in the area east of Birmingham, you carried out massive damage on 12 separate incidents.

"It was designed to cause maximum interference to passenger traffic and freight traffic."

During Nicol's trial the court heard he was angry at how the railway industry was being run and upset at being made redundant.

He was said to have responded to what he thought were ongoing problems at Network Rail, including conditions of work, the way staff were treated and the way mistakes were dealt with.

The damage caused cost Network Rail more than 807,000 in repairs and just over 3 million in compensation, the court heard.

It caused a total of almost 2,000 hours of delays and disrupted more than 200,000 passengers, British Transport Police said.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Allan Nicol caused 4m worth of damage in 12 attacks



SEE ALSO
Ex-railway worker guilty of arson
17 Jan 07 |  West Midlands
The man with the 4m grudge
17 Jan 07 |  England
Jury retires in rail arson trial
16 Jan 07 |  West Midlands
Rail vandal 'caught by receipt'
09 Jan 07 |  West Midlands
Ex-rail man 'sabotaged' network
08 Jan 07 |  West Midlands

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