Dagenham railway ‘scrap’ thief in near-miss with train sentenced to prison


- Credit: Archant

Scrap metal thieves risked their lives to steal from the side of a track – forcing a train to brake to a halt.

Stanislovas Petkevicius, of Burnham Road, Dagenham, stole several items of railway property, including generators and a strip of rail, from a line near Barking Road, Newham.

Petkevicius pleaded guilty to theft and trespass on railway property at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court last Thursday.

Prosecutor Sulochana Singh said the train driver saw two men at the side of the track, pushing a wheelbarrow with a generator in it on February 23.

She said: “The train driver sounded his horn and put the brakes on to bring the train to a stop.

“According to the driver, the train passed them close enough for him to have been able to pat them on the head.”

Ran off

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Both men ran off towards Ripple Road, Barking, the court heard, before coming back to collect the metal items, which were not vital to the running of the line.

Defending, Ellen Donovan, said all of the items were recovered because police stopped the men when they still had the stolen goods on them.

She said: “The items appear to have been laying by the side of the track and in fact the two men picked them up believing them to be scrap metal.”

Petkevicius, a Polish national who has been in Britain for some 18 months and has slept rough as well as having substance abuse issues, is said to have stolen the items to buy food.

The 38-year-old was sentenced to six weeks in prison for the theft but incurred no penalty for trespassing, having been in custody since February.

The other suspect is due to be tried seperately.