Thursday, 23. October 2014
17. 01. 13. - 18:00
A judge who's declared war on the copper cable thieves who've brought Europe to a standstill has accused justice officials in Romania of shielding the crooks who've built multi-million pound palace fortresses on the back of their crimes.
Magistrate Philippe Dujardin - who's leading a huge investigation into the wholesale theft of copper from Belgium's rail network - says entire neighbourhoods have been built in Romania by the Mafia gangs who run the racket.
"These are lawless enclaves, whole neighbourhoods and districts made up of palaces and fortresses built by the people who run this crime network," he said in a new report on the racket.
"They operate in their home country where they are apparently beyond the reach of the local law despite being completely unable to say how they earned their fortunes.
"It is our crippled railways, lost phone lines, paralysed hospitals which pay the price for these palaces," he added.
In Britain alone thefts of copper cable from rail and communications networks are estimated to cost nearly 800 million GBP a year.
And Railtrack reckon that the thefts have caused 16,000 hours of delays in the past three years.
But investigator Dujardin says the thieves will take astonishing risks for even the smallest amounts of cable.
"Only last week one thief was prepared to be shot rather then surrender a few metres of cable.
"They have no fear and no sense of even their own safety," he said.
Campaigner Dujardin is now leading a zero tolerance policy in Belgium's courts after ordering fellow judges to show "no mercy" to copper thieves.
Crooks are routinely jailed for three years for the smallest of scrap metal offences.
"The sentences should be the maximum and they should hurt.
"We must take the message to Romania that this sort of behaviour will no longer be tolerated," he said.
Get Shorty As Confused Bald Ibis Gets Lost Again
A rare bald Ibis that seems to have a different sense of direction to her fellow birds has once again had to be rescued after getting stuck trying to find a different route to the southern Italian feeding ground.
Alpine Trains Venture Into Space As The Final Frontier
Austria’s national railway line the OeBB has raised eyebrows after offering themed toilets including one that is supposed to "look and smell like outer space".
MEP caught In Brit papers Fraud Probe Jailed
A corrupt MEP caught by a British newspaper offering to propose amendments to EU laws in exchange for 100,000 euros a year has been given a three-year-jail term.
Vienna Jihad Girls Want To Come Home
The two Austrian teenage girls who became ‘poster girls’ for the jihad in Syria are now desperate to come home after getting completely disillusioned with their new lifestyles.
There was a festival atmosphere as Bundespresident Heinz Fischer opened Vienna's new Hauptbahnhof Friday morning.
Apple Truck Causes Traffic Jam
When 24 tonnes of apples are catapulted across a road it can only mean a jam.
Farmer Cleared Over Wolf Shooting
Furious animal rights campaigners have accused an Austrian farmer of lying after he shot dead a wolf that he claimed he thought was a fox.
Rare Bald Ibis Makes Microlight Flight To Italy
The project to introduce an extinct bird back to Europe is hailing success after successfully negotiating a new route over the Alps and training 14 Northern Bald Ibises how to fly south to winter feeding grounds in southern Tuscany.
Pat On The Back From Manure Explosive
A traffic cop in Austria got more than he bargained for after a booby trap covered him head-to-toe in manure as he was trying to catch people speeding.
Viennese Jihad Girl May Have Been Killed
Austrian police say that one of the two attractive young teenage girls who fled the country to go to Syria to fight on the side of Islamic rebels may have been killed.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Dirty Diggers Face Jail For Grave Offence|
|Slovak Plan To Give Gypsies Free Flights To UK|
|Angry Sea Lion Attacks Fisherman|
|Russian Artist Cuts Off His Ear|
|Gang Tattooed Their Names On Their Best Hookers|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.