Thieves targeting Walsall rail yard snatched wine worth more than £4000

The crime was among 35 incidents of trespass recorded at Bescot Freight Yard between Wednesbury and Walsall over a five-year period. Investigators looking into an incident where two schoolboys suffered shock after crawling through a hole in a fence at the sidings, were given a list of recorded trespasses by former yard operator DB Cargo (UK) Ltd. The team sent in by the Office of Rail & Road investigators found that the German owned company was aware that members of the public were often gaining unauthorised access to the site, with 35 incursions documented between July 2012 and June 2017.

Of these 10 involved children. A 19-year-old died after suffering an electric shock in June 2014, when the yard was managed by a different contractor. They also discovered that DB Cargo repeatedly ignored warnings by its own staff that the boundary fencing and walls were in need of repair or replacement due to ongoing issues including scrap metal thieves, vandals and youths capturing selfies.

It emerged that in June 2015 a quote to carry out work costing GBP39,000 was sought and GBP30,000 was made available for some of the repairs to be done, but it was never carried out at the premises. The court heard that it was unclear why the repairs were not done and prosecuting barrister Mr William Davis said the decision related to “budget constraints” and workers were told to “manage the risks”. DB Cargo was fined GBP1.2 million at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court last week for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.


Two 13-year-olds got into difficulties when they climbed on top of a Colas train parked in the sidings near a children’s play area at the south west boundary, in Wednesbury, on June 1, 2017. While standing on the roof, one boy suffered a devastating electric shock from the 25,000 volts overhead power line resulting in him being airlifted to hospital with 40 per cent burns. The second boy sustained minor burns to his hand, a broken arm, a foot injury and an irregular heart beat.

Investigators believe the boys were hurt when one of them took a selfie and either touched the overhead line above the train or that his mobile phone sparked an electricity arc. A third boy has since been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

Advertising Just days before that incident on May 28, 2017, the company noted that several youths had been spotted clambering over locomotives.

Other incidents included the disappearance of 200 cases of wine valued at GBP4,500 from a goods train. Last year the yard was hit with GBP10,000 worth of graffiti damage. DB Cargo which has annual turnover of GBP297m said since the 2017 accident it invested GBP10m into repairs at its UK sites.

It no longer operates Bescot, but still has a depot there.

In addition the company launched a publicity drive to warm the public of the dangers of trespassing on railways.

Bescot is now run by GB Railfreight.

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