Thursday, 02. 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.
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.
Perversion of a Medical Dream
The Decline and Fall of the Otto Wagner Hospital, Vienna.
Fat Can Be Used To Burn Off Weight After New Patent Unveiled
It is being hailed as a sensation after scientists at an Austrian university patented a method that transforms fat storing cells into mini factories capable of actually destroying fat by burning it off.
Three Family Members Dead In Well Tragedy
A mother has lost her husband, her pregnant daughter and her son-in-law after a tragic accident where one of them fell into a well and the other two died while trying to carry out a failed rescue.
Brit Soldier Rescued After Climbing Mountain In T Shirt
A British soldier who tackled the frozen Austrian Alps wearing just shorts and a T-shirt has been rapped by officials after he had to be rescued from the snowy peak.
Mum And Daughter Struck By Lightning In Pool
A mother and her daughter were hospitalised after they were struck by lightning – in a swimming pool.
Police Nab Porn Star Who Filmed In Local Church
A woman accused of making a porn movie in a local church has been caught after an informant tipped off police that he recognised her by her breasts after an appeal for information.
Young Hip Hop Dancer Gets 18 Years For Drug Smuggling
A blonde hip hop dancer and charity worker promised an international career after she was spotted by a talent scout has been jailed for 18 years in Indonesia after her work offer turned out to have been part of an elaborate drugs con.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Porn Scandal Over Latvian PM Press Aide|
|Granny Cures Eye Problems By Licking Eyeballs|
|Bystander Almost Killed When Car Explodes|
|Till Death Us Two Part|
|Teenager Whose Body Is Turning To Solid Bone|
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.