by Martin Jefferies
Train passengers endured miserable journeys after vandals stole cabling from a Kent railway line last night.
An unspecified amount of signalling cable was taken from the Borough Green area at around 7.30pm.
It took more than nine hours for a full service to resume, causing delays to more than a dozen trains.
Another two trains failed to reach their planned final destinations.
Dayle Sellars, a spokesman for Network Rail, which runs Britain's tracks, said: "We were able to resume a full size at 4.52am this morning but the incident did cause some knock on effects for passengers travelling yesterday evening.
"We'll be working very closely with British Transport Police, who were contacted as soon as we discovered the theft and are now investigating the incident."
She added: "We cannot confirm how much cabling was stolen or how much it was worth."
British Transport Police has described metal theft as a "growing problem".
The increase in incidents is thought to be linked to the soaring price of copper.
Dyan Crowther, director of operational services at Network Rail, said: "Metal thieves are causing misery to thousands of passengers, with many people missing business appointments or having disruption to holidays and days out through the selfish and dangerous actions of a few.
"We're doing everything we can to deter such thefts and protect our vital railway.
"More and more culprits and scrap metal dealers are being caught and we support any move that gives police the ability to close down dealers who are acting illegally in order to remove the market for stolen metal."
Anyone with information about the incident in Borough Green should call British Transport Police on 0800 405040 or Kent Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.