Metal Mayhem: Indian-Origin Director Jailed for UK Rail Heist

Jaspreet Oberoi, an Indian-origin director of JSJ Metal Recycling Ltd, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in a series of thefts involving train track rails across the UK. Alongside six other men, Oberoi orchestrated the collection and sale of stolen rails, leading to significant financial and safety concerns.

PTI | London | Updated: 20-05-2024 18:06 IST | Created: 20-05-2024 18:06 IST
Metal Mayhem: Indian-Origin Director Jailed for UK Rail Heist
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An Indian-origin director of a scrap metals business is among a gang of seven men sentenced to prison for their part in stealing train track rails from the UK's Network Rail trackside and depot locations in the East of England on several occasions.

Jaspreet Oberoi, 40, was convicted at the end of a series of trials dating back to 2022 and pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to steal and sentenced recently to 30 months' imprisonment at Sheffield Crown Court. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that over the course of three trials in the case it was proved that JSJ Metal Recycling Ltd, of which Oberoi was a director, made the arrangements for the collection of stolen rail which funded the criminal operation.

"It was this company that made profits from these stolen goods by selling it as scrap metal to legitimate customers and businesses," the CPS said in a statement on Monday.

The court was told that those with insider knowledge were passing the location of rails to other conspirators and heavy goods vehicles attended those locations where access was gained with the help of railway contractors. The rail was loaded onto the vehicles which were driven back to Oberoi's scrap metal business, JSJ Metal Recycling, between March and November 2016.

"These were significant conspiracies to steal rail. Collectively they stole on 125 occasions from Network Rail which is partly funded by UK taxpayers to the tune of billions of pounds," said Stephane Pendered, Specialist Prosecutor for CPS Serious Economic Organised Crime International Directorate.

"The defendants were motivated by greed and showed no regard that these rails were needed for the running of essential rail services for passengers and businesses or to the obvious public safety risks caused by doing these thefts trackside. The CPS Proceeds of Crime Division has commenced proceedings to recover these defendants' ill-gotten gains," he said.

During their investigation the British Transport Police unearthed a further conspiracy to steal rail which took place over a similar time period, May to November 2016. This conspiracy concerned Network Rail Manager Ricky Collins, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment.

Collins was overseeing a rail upgrade of the Midlands Mainline and passing locations of stockpiled rail to Oberoi via third parties. The hauliers Clark and Hemmings attended the locations where rail was again loaded onto lorries and transported back to JSJ Metal Recycling. The CPS said this took place on at locations including Kettering, Market Harborough, Derby, Burton-on-Trent and Braybrooke.

The gang members involved have all been handed sentences ranging between 12 months and 30 months.

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