A CONSTRUCTION manager working on a £25million rail re-signalling project admitted stealing railway cable from Theale and Thatcham.

Paul Jones was working for Siemens Rail Automation when the cable began to disappear.

The 37-year-old was arrested in a dawn raid after 8.5tonnes of cable, worth around £17,110 disappeared between April and July last year.

He got his staff to help transport bags of stolen cable from Newbury to Merthyr Metals in Wales where the cable was disposed.

The plan began to unravel when Jones was issued with a fixed penalty notice for driving a truck hired to transport cable between Ufton Nervet and Newbury as far west as junction 15 of the M4.

Investigating officer detective constable Dan Murdoch said: “This was a calculated, pre-planned joint conspiracy, where both men were equally reliant upon each other – one person could not have stolen and disposed of the cable without the other’s help.”

Jones, of Ael-y-Bryn, Fochriw, was handed a 16-month suspended sentence and 240 hours unpaid work at Merthyr Crown Court on Friday, June 24.

His accomplice, Darren Jones, 49, of High Street, Dowlais, who removed identity markings on the cable at the metalworks, was given a 16-month suspended sentence and a four month curfew at the same court.