Gurkhas Deployed To Protect Rail Network From Metal Thieves
Former Gurkhas have been deployed to patrol Britain's railway network to prevent the theft cables and metal from the lines, it has been reported.
In May Network Rail estimated that there was on average six "attacks" on its network a day, a 52% jump on the previous year, resulting in over 16,000 hours of delay and a cost of £43m over the past three years.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the Gurkhas are being used mainly in areas of north east England which have been targeted by gangs.
The Nepalese former British soldiers are employed by an arm of private security firm G4S and managed by other ex-British Army officers.
G4S Gurkha Services claims to offer "an enhanced, strategic security solution" to its clients which includes protection for diplomatic residences and security and training for the Ministry of Defence.
The company says it helps tackle metal theft by analysing "incident trends", identifying high risk sites and gathering additional information "using overt or covert operations" as required.
Speaking during prime minister's questions on Wednesday Conservative MP Jason McCartney said metal theft also extended beyond the railway and called for action.
"Homes and churches are being pilfered of their lead and copper and, in the past month, one churchyard in Huddersfield has had 169 memorial plaques stolen for their metal," he said.
David Cameron told the Colne Valley MP the government was working to tackle the problem.
"The theft of metal, particularly from war memorials, is an absolutely sickening and disgusting crime," he said.
"We are working with the Association of Chief Police Officers to put in place an action plan to deal with this, which will involve looking again at the whole regulation of scrap metal dealers. We are determined to do that to put a stop to this appalling crime."