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MPUMALANGA – Suspects aged between 35 and 45 were arrested by members of the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation Middelburg together with Transnet Investigators during an intelligence driven operation on Monday, 30 August 2021 at Vaalbank in Middelburg.

Information was received about intruders who allegedly stole railway lines in Santa Dullstroom were driving towards Middelburg. The team followed up the information and found four trucks inside Mashcor Scrap metal dealer still loaded with railway tracks.

During further investigation, the fifth truck loaded with transformers and palisade which were positively identified by Transnet officials arrived. The railway tracks were stolen from the decommissioned line while the transformers and palisade were stolen from the working substation.

The 16 suspects of which 14 are foreign nationals were arrested and charged for possession of suspected stolen property, theft and damaging of essential infrastructure.

The owner of the scrap metal was traced and also arrested. The suspects are expected to appear before the Middelburg Magistrates’ Court soon.