File picture

Cape Town - A 33-year-old man will spend 15 years behind bars after being convicted of stealing overhead railway cables near the Heideveld train station in Cape Town, police said on Friday.

Abrahams Isgak Terblanche was arrested shortly after 11 others were caught "caught red-handed stealing overhead cables close to Heideveld railway station in Manenberg" in March this year, police spokesman Andre Traut said.

"Terblanche was injured while he was cutting the live cable, and was arrested after Sergeant Daryl van Noie followed leads to track him down. The other eleven suspects are still awaiting their trial for malicious damage to property," said Traut.

Terblanche was convicted and received a 15-year sentence for the theft of non-ferrous metal. He received a further sentence of 15 years for causing damage to essential infrastructure of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa). The sentences will run concurrently.

"Cable theft and damages caused to the railway infrastructure are serious crimes with detrimental effects to our public transport system, and we encourage the public to report any criminal activity to Crime Stop on 08600 10111," said Traut.

* Receive IOL's top stories via WhatsApp by sending your name to 0745573535.

African News Agency (ANA)