Metal thief jailed for plotting to steal cable from the Brent section of the Metropolitan Line

Vasilica Derevlean has been jailed for three-and-a-half years

Vasilica Derevlean has been jailed for three-and-a-half years - Credit: Archant

Vasilica Derevlean had struck 25 times before

A prolific metal thief who plotted to steal cable from the Brent and Harrow branch of the Metropolitan Line after striking 25 times before has been jailed today.

Blackfriars Crown Court heard Vasilica Derevlean, 24, slept rough in a den he set up in the woods near his targeted areas to aid his thefts

Around 2,000 metres of cable had already been stolen near the site and when officers from the British Transport Police (BTP) responded to a report of man tampering with cable nearby they spotted someone fleeing from a makeshift lair.

Inside they found household items including a razor, cutlery, mouthwash, candles and a makeshift bed.

A forensic examination of items found at the site revealed Derevlean’s fingerprints on numerous items including cartons of fruit juice.

Analysis of Derevlean’s mobile phone number also placed him near to the locations where cable had been cut as well as the stripping site in the wooded area.

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In November, six months after the discovery, Derevlean turned up at a police station to sign on as part of his bail conditions for an unrelated matter.

He was subsequently arrested and charged with conspiracy to steal.

Today he admitted conspiracy to steal cable from London Underground between March 2010 and May 2012 and was jailed for three-and-a-half years.

He will be deported back to Romania on his release.

PC Ross McAlpine, investigating officer, said: “Derevlean was so intent on criminality and stealing from the network that he had set up a makeshift camp to give himself regular access to the lineside.

“His sentence shows that it’s simply not worth considering stealing cable, or handling stolen cable from the railway network.

“Stealing railway cable is incredibly dangerous.

“Thieves risk not only a prison sentence but also serious injury and death through electrocution.”

Anyone with information about cable theft or who sees people acting suspiciously around the railway is asked to contact BTP on 0800 40 50 40.