Railway ticket machine vandal gang sought

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Media captionThe masked and hooded gang has struck across four counties in the eastern region

A gang of men suspected of causing damage put at more than £50,000 to railway ticket machines is being sought by British Transport Police (BTP).

CCTV images of a group have been released after machines were broken open in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Essex and Hampshire.

BTP said the stations were targeted between October and December 2012.

A BTP spokeswoman said although cash was taken, it was significantly less than the value of the damage caused.

Det Con Nick Thompson said: "The group of men targeted rail stations in the early hours, with one of them breaking into the machine while others acted as lookouts.

"We believe this gang is responsible for all six attacks, which have caused an astonishing £50,000 of damage to train operating companies' property.

"Not only was the damage left by these vandals extremely costly to the railway, their actions made machines unusable, causing passengers immense inconvenience and frustration."

The railway stations targeted by the gang were:

  • Micheldever station, Hampshire, on 15 October in the early hours, causing about £17,500 of damage.
  • The next day the gang broke into Diss station, Norfolk, causing £18,500 of damage.
  • On 26 October Arlesley station in Bedfordshire was targeted, causing about £900 of damage and leaving the machine out of order for the majority of the next day.
  • In the early hours of 2 November, a machine was vandalised at Welwyn North station in Hertfordshire, causing an estimated £590 of damage
  • Audley End station in Essex had its machine broken into on 15 December, costing over £6,000 of repairs.
  • The gang returned to Hampshire on 17 December, when a machine at Hook was vandalised leaving behind £9,500 of damage.

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