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  1. ITV Report

'Pro-Brexit' sabotage attempt on railway in Cambridgeshire

Yaxley is close to Peterborough station, a major hub on the East coast mainline. Credit: ITV News Anglia

An investigation has been launched after two "malicious" devices were placed on railway tracks in a pro-Brexit sabotage attempt.

British Transport Police (BTP) said the two obstructions occurred on the railway near Yaxley near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire on March 21 and Netherfield in Nottinghamshire on March 27.

Police said staff at Network Rail identified the devices, which were "intended to cause disruption" to train services, and the saboteurs had "put their life at risk" to plant the obstructions.

An initial assessment from BTP led officers to believe the sabotage attempts "relate to Britain's exit from the European Union".

One of the obstructions was found on the line at Yaxley near Peterborough.

Police said the devices failed to disrupt services and detectives are working with the rail industry to investigate the incidents.

Assistant Chief Constable Sean O'Callaghan, from British Transport Police, said: "This was a serious and deliberate attempt by someone to cause significant sabotage and disruption to Britain's rail network.

"We are urgently investigating the circumstances behind both incidents and are working extremely closely with our national partners, including the rail industry.

"It is important to highlight that these acts were intended only to delay services and not cause damage to the infrastructure, however this failed on both occasions."

– Assistant Chief Constable Sean O'Callaghan, from British Transport Police

Mr O'Callaghan added: "The railway has a number of substantial safeguards in place to prevent and detect this type of sabotage and we are now working tirelessly to identify those responsible.

"We're are currently keeping an open mind on why someone would put their life at risk to place these items on a live railway, however our early assessment has led us to believe it relates to Britain's exit from the European Union.

"We'll continue to monitor this situation extremely closely and have circulated advice to rail operators and indeed Network Rail."

BTP has asked anyone with information to come forward.