EIGHT men charged with conspiracy to steal power cable from a railway line in the North Cotswolds are due to appear in court next week.

The men, originally from Romania, were charged as part of British Transport Police’s (BTP) Operation Distillery, an investigation into the theft of railway cable between Evesham and Moreton-in-Marsh between November 2011 and May 2012.

Seven of the men were arrested on Thursday May 24 after BTP officers carried out search warrants at five addresses in the Handsworth and Smethwick areas of Birmingham.

The previous day, four other Romanian men were detained after a suspicious vehicle was stopped by Warwickshire Police officers near to the railway line in Church Lawford, Warwickshire.

Three of the men were later released without charge.

The eight men are due to appear at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday and Tuesday.