£1k reward over Black Country rail arson attacks

A £1,000 reward is being offered after arson attacks on railway lines in the Black Country which caused thousands of pounds of damage and disrupted train services.

The most recent blaze happened on the railway near Littleton Street West, Walsall, on May 19 and another fire was reported 10 days earlier near to Wallows Lane foot crossing in Bescot.

On April 20, a fire was also discovered on the railway at the rear of Strawberry Lane Industrial Estate and Neachells Lane area of Willenhall.

The blazes caused damage to rail infrastructure and disruption and delays to train services.

British Transport Police is appealing for any witnesses to come forward and Network Rail is offering a £1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprits.

Patrols have been stepped up and CCTV is being checked from surrounding businesses and premises. The fire on April 20 happened shortly after 9.30pm and three people were seen to run away from the scene.

Heavy rain extinguished the blaze but it flared up again several hours later at 2.15am on April 21. A fire on May 9 was reported at around 2.20am and arsonists struck at around 5.10am on May 19.

Det Sgt Martyn Guest, investigating officer, said: “We believe all three fires were started deliberately with the intention to cause damage and disruption to the rail network.

“Network Rail is offering a £1,000 reward for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for starting these fires.”

Anyone with information is asked to call British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40, text 6016 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, quoting incident reference MSUB/B6 of June 5.