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Metal thieves caught trying to remove track in tunnel


It’s Keystone cops as pair flee from tunnel

Saturday 15th October 2011, 5:00PM BST.

A would-be metal thief caught trying to steal sections of railway track from a disused line in the Black Country tried to give police the slip in scenes likened to a slapstick film, a court heard.

Police waited for Aaron Anslow at both ends of the mile-long Dudley Tunnel for an hour, but he still managed to escape. The 25-year-old father-of-two had been cutting up 650ft of track in the tunnel near New Road in Netherton.

He was aided by a 17-year-old accomplice, Dudley magistrates were told yesterday.

Officers spotted a van parked nearby and passers-by reported seeing flashing lights in the tunnel.

After somehow escaping, the pair were found hiding behind a lorry in Castlegate Park, Dudley.

When officers arrived at the tunnel at about 10.30am on December 28, Anslow’s Staffordshire bull terrier barked and stopped them entering, said Miss Maxine McIntosh, prosecuting.

The pet then ran away when a police dog arrived. But, despite officers guarding each exit, they soon realised the pair had managed to get out.

Later two canisters were found connected to a cutting torch along with other cutting equipment, the court was told. None of the pieces of track had been loaded onto the van.

Anslow, of Stourbridge Road, Dudley, claimed he had been asked to cut the track by a man he met in a pub.

Mr Dennis Dudley, defending, said: “It was like something from The Keystone Kops with police waiting outside a tunnel for a man and his dog. Somehow they got away.”

He said that the track had not been used for up to 30 years, but it had not been ruled out that it could be used again.

The 17-year-old was dealt with at a previous hearing. Anslow, who pleaded guilty to attempted theft, was given a 12-month community order and told to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £250 costs.

Read more: http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2011/10/15/it%e2%80%99s-keystone-cops-as-pair-flee-from-tunnel/#ixzz1ary8ZED4
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