An appeal has been launched to find metal thieves who stole vital magnets from a railway line in the Black Country causing major delays for thousands of passengers.
The missing parts meant trains could not operate properly on that stretch of line leading to disruption for commuters on November 8. British Transport Police officers are now appealing for witnesses.
The Automatic Power Control magnets were taken from the line at Coseley.
Passengers were not put at risk by the vandalism, which is the latest in a long line of metal thefts affecting railway services across the West Midlands.
It has been estimated that trains are being delayed for almost 1,000 hours a year by metal thieves in the region.
Cable theft alone cost Network Rail £16 million last year and disrupted more than 35,000 rail journeys nationwide.
Detectives have described the magnets, which are normally fitted on the tracks, as “extremely heavy” and advised people not to move them, if they are found, as they could still have strong magnetic currents running through them.
Dc Sharon Starkey, said: “These magnets have no monetary value so we believe there is a strong chance they may have been dumped somewhere or are being stored by the thieves. I am appealing for anyone who may have seen someone with these devices, which are extremely heavy and would be very difficult to transport, to come forward with any information you have.
“Also, if you saw anyone acting suspiciously on, or near, the railway line in the Central Drive area of Coseley on November 8, please come forward as you may have vital information which can assist the investigation.
“Similarly, if you have seen devices like the ones in the photograph dumped anywhere, then I would again urge you to contact police straight away.”
Anyone with information should call 0800 405040.