Railway sabotage attempt linked to pro-Brexit campaigners
Two ‘short-circuiting’ devices left on railway lines near Yaxley in Cambridgeshire and Netherfield in Nottinghamshire last month have been linked to pro-Brexit protesters.
Detectives from British Transport Police (BTP) investigating the attempted sabotage said a note found attached to the devices warned: “We will bring this country to its knees if we don’t leave.”
Although the devices were detected and removed without services being disrupted, BTP Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said: “This was a serious and deliberate attempt by someone to cause significant sabotage and disruption to Britain’s rail network.
“We are urgently investigating the circumstances behind both incidents and are working extremely closely with our national partners, including the rail industry.”
He added: “It is important to highlight that these acts were intended only to delay services and not cause damage to the infrastructure, however this failed on both occasions. The railway has a number of substantial safeguards in place to prevent and detect this type of sabotage and we are now working tirelessly to identify those responsible.
“We’re are currently keeping an open mind on why someone would put their life at risk to place these items on a live railway, however, our early assessment has led us to believe it relates to Britain’s exit from the EU.
“We’ll continue to monitor this situation extremely closely and have circulated advice to rail operators and indeed Network Rail.”
The home-made devices left on the rail lines were designed to short–circuit the electrical supply, deceiving signallers into believing the track was occupied. One of the devices was spotted by a train driver while the other is believed to have been found during a routine track search.
The attempted sabotage came days before a Brexit protester disrupted Eurostar trains by trespassing on the tracks on March 29, the day the UK was originally due to leave the EU.
Terry Maher, 44, from Camden, North London, was arrested after spending the night on the roof of St Pancras International rail station in a 12-hour stand-off with police. He later pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance.