Authorities in St Helens are using a combination of specially designed forensic traps, high security fencing and warning signs to stamp out rail network cable theft.

According to the St Helens Star, there have been 19 cable thefts in the region during the past 18 months and so Network Rail has stepped up its fight against the thefts.

The paper claimed that huge numbers of cancellations and delays have been caused by criminals stealing valuable cabling.

Speaking to the news provider, Jo Kaye, Network Rail's route director, said: "Cable theft is a massive drain on our resources and a major inconvenience to train operators, their passengers and freight.

"Since it first became a significant problem for us in 2006, trains across the UK have been delayed by 1.1 million minutes."

As a result all cable in the St Helens region is being treated with a fluid that is chemically coded, so its origin can be traced after a theft.

The new measure will be in addition to trackside warning signs and high security fencing, Network Rail claimed.

Recently, Network Rail warned travellers of the likelihood of Christmas and new year delays.ADNFCR-3337-ID-800260342-ADNFCR